I remember the first time I met Patrice Aphrodite Helmar. It was around this time in 2017, and a friend asked if I wanted to go and check out the Backyard Biennial that she was putting on at her place in Ridgewood. A self-initiated curatorial effort, she showcased the work of emerging and established photographers alike. There was food and drinks, a slideshow going, and prints untraditionally arranged within the orange walls of her backyard. As we walked in to her ground floor apartment, she greeted and hugged us as if we were old friends. I remember we talked about Friedlander’s Nudes and EJ Belloq’s Storyville portraits at some point that night, but what stuck with me most was a kind of energy that she filled the room with.
Patrice makes heartbreaking photos - lots of pictures of people, often in intimate settings. She’s made lots of her work in bars, where she’s also worked quite a bit, and she’s spent a lot of time shooting in New Orleans. She’s exhibited work across the country, but, she also gives so much back and makes such an important contribution to the photo community in New York. Aside from the Backyard Biennial, she teaches at Pratt and Fordham, and she's the founder Marble Hill Camera Club.
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