Guest photographer for the Photographic Nights of Selma 2021
Liesa Cole is a photographer, cinematographer, and lecturer. (http://www.liesacole.com/) She has won many industry awards for her work, including “International Photographer of the Year” from the London-based Photography Master’s Cup and Grand Prize in the Faces competition from PDN (Photo District News).
Some people collect Wedgwood china. Others collect stamps, or rocks. Liesa Cole collects images of fascinating people. She loves to engage with and document all manner of humanity, and this love is undoubtedly what drove Cole to her profession. Whether photographing people, the objects they desire, or the places they inhabit or roam, her passion remains the same. She seeks to discover and reveal the depth of beauty and intricacy of design in each.
Cole is based in Birmingham, Alabama where she lives atop her historical downtown studio (a converted 19th C livery) with her husband and a trio of “pandemic pups.” When she isn’t behind the camera, you might find her setting off for a local cafe by bicycle or on the rooftop, doting on her succulents. Her favorite quote, attributed to Howard Thurman, is: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
There are 3 billion pairs in the human genome. 3,000,000,000 seconds equal 95.6 years, the span of a a lifetime for the hardiest among us. In recent years, through a vast network of international collaborators, the Human genome has been fully mapped for the first time in history. ironically, concurrent with this profound revelation of our quantifiable, essential sameness, humanity is bombarded with tribal messaging from commercially incentivized bad actors who drive us to “otherize” those who do not share our narrowest versions of identity. This delusion is not only harmful to the body politic and fabric of society, it is self-destructive. To embrace and accept and even celebrate our subtle distinctions, is to enrich our own lives and allow humanity to thrive through enlightened cooperation.
This works seeks invites the participant to engage with all manner of humanity on the same level. Whether rich and famous or poor and disenfranchised, powerful or imprisoned; these life-sized portraits present all of us on the same level. We are invited to stare deeply into these vulnerable, authentic beings, to connect and to recognize ourselves.
“When you can go deep down inside yourself, and are secure in who you are—then—you can find yourself in every other human being.”