about the project.

In creating When You’re Looking at Me You’re Looking At Country, multi-media artist Xaviera Simmons offered free photographic portraits to community members of the Fulton and Elliott houses, Chelsea, New York in collaboration with More Art and Hudson Guild.

All residents were invited to sit for a portrait, free of charge. Simmons constructed an open-air studio and photographed her subjects with a large format film camera. Participants were asked to bring personal artifacts (e.g. family photographs, special clothing, personal ephemera, etc.) that they wanted to be photographed with. Simmons worked with the sitters to create photographic narratives based on their personal memories, supplemented by these items. The artist developed and printed each image, which were gifted to each participant. This body of work is a continuation of Simmons’ practice of producing outdoor photographic studios and offering hand printed portraits, free of charge. This project was equally traditional photographic portraiture and performance art.

The final photographs were shown in the Hudson Guild Art Galleries on February 9th to March 27th 2012.

about the artist.

Xaviera Simmons was born in New York, where she continues to live and work. She received her BFA from Bard College, studied acting at The Maggie Flanigan Studio, completed the prestigious Whitney ISP: Studio Program, and spent two years on a walking pilgrimage retracing the Atlantic Slave Trade. Simmons employs performance and photography to craft complex personal and sociopolitical narratives.