Lola Flash & Felicita Felli Maynard
In 2021 Art Matters was proud to launch a new regranting program titled Artist2Artist, where our grant recipients — artists — act as grant-makers. How does Artist2Artist shift moments of fracture and competition, to support the care networks artists want to build? In four Zoom recordings, we get a glimpse into the relationships, process, and practice of Artist2Artist’s pilot year fellows. Playful and profound, these revelatory exchanges model how artists and culture workers empower their creative kindred. We are grateful to them for allowing us to learn from these intimate Artist2Artist conversations.
Lola Flash 00:59
Hey, Felli, how you doing? I'm so excited to see you, my son.
Felli Maynard 01:04
I'm excited to thank you for taking the time to, you know, be here with me and be here. And for Art Matters. Thank you very much for this opportunity.
Lola Flash 01:12
Yeah, I mean, I've loved Art Matters forever. So to have you and them together, it's like beautiful. All right. Okay, so I'm gonna go ahead and share my screen and just get this party started. All right. So I had thought that this would be a good slide to start off with, you know, we both do a lot of self portraits. This is a self portrait of me, in particular, but it's the same kind of work. Can you explain the work a little bit Felli?
Felli Maynard 01:54
Yeah, so these are 10 types, or, they're basically images made with the process of wet plate collodion, which was very popular during the 1850s. It's very much so a process in which you're using tin as your as your base substrate, and then you're using this collodion mixture that goes on top of the plate, and then you sensitize it in a bath of silver nitrate. And then after that, you shoot it. So it's all a process that has to be done from start to finish, everything has to be done in one gap of time, like, it's not something that I can, you know, do later, it all has to be done while the plate is wet. And it's also a process that made folks able to see themselves in a more, I would say, economical fashion, photography always started off as a very expensive medium and wet plate allowed, you know, the common person to finally have their photograph taken to share with the family and, and I think that's, that's also a beautiful like key in into just like what we're both doing also within our work, allowing folks to see themselves and like create this type of family outside of, you know, the usual mainstream commercialize view of how folks want, you know, our people to even look in the first place.
Lola Flash 03:17
Yeah, I hear you, I hear you. Okay, let's go on to the next slide. So, you know, I realized, at all this time that we've known each other, I really never asked you like, why photography? How did you decide that that was the kind of artists you wanted to be?
Felli Maynard 03:37
Yeah, I think for me, I'm really like, I don't think about that a lot. And I think you asking me that question was very much something where it's like, okay, like, like, why photography? And I think, really, like sitting with it, I realized that like, photography was like, my way of connecting to a home that I did not understand or know? Particularly, I'm first generation in this country, my dad came from Panama, my mom was from Colombia. And this whole like, idea of, of wanting to connect to this place that I don't know anything about was just available through photographs. So seeing my parents, you know, young and having a life that I you know, never would know of, because, you know, those words don't come out of their mouths but like the pictures are there to show evidence. I think it's always been a really beautiful thing and has very much so kept me steeped in photography, because ultimately, I became kind of like a guardian of of of the images so So yeah, just she's just she's been there like that. And then I didn't really like pick up the camera and start like shooting myself until middle school. My first photography teacher, Mr. Zorba in the seventh grade, really cool Italian Brooklyn dude. And he gave me my first camera and also a Um, I remembered he used to roll his own film. And I was always amazed at this at this guy like really taking the whole process within himself and trying to learn everything that he could. And that kind of has stuck with me ever since. Like, I try to learn as much as I can about each, each photograph, each photographic process that I get interested in. And I really try to like, have my hand be a part of, like, as many facets of it as I can.
Lola Flash 05:28
Wow, that's cool. Yeah, these pictures of your mom are beautiful.
Felli Maynard 05:32
Yeah, that's my mama and my grandma at the bottom. Yeah, so like, yeah, two generations in one photograph, which I think is, is really touching all the time to see it. And I know, you also have a beautiful relationship with photography and how that has, you know, I always think about that image that you show of your great grandfather, and, you know, Madam CJ Walker, and like, like, what was that like, like, finding that? And like, you know, being like, these folks are like, my people.
Lola Flash 06:06
Yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, photography does have this ability to I just got chills to kind of keep people alive in a way. And so it's definitely a proud photograph, seeing my great grandfather. And, you know, I think especially for for black folks, we don't all have the chance to have a lot of photographs of our families. So it makes me feel really very sort of, like, not only proud but also, like grateful that someone decided to create an archive, right. And so, and I know you're really into archiving, and archival processes, and also, you've been doing a lot of work within our other archives. So yeah, for me, it's a blessing. But going on to, to my early work. So these are some classic photos of mine, that I took. You can see I think that's even my handwriting is 73 When I went to the lab, my dad wasn't that cute. And so I had this little minox Tamra, and I took it everywhere, you know, you can see I went skiing, that the fish tank, one of the kissing fish. And I actually kind of forgot that I want to have the picture of my grandma there and her desk and her, you know, better dresser, and that I can just remember her so much they're getting ready for church. So many memories come back. And then this picture my mom, it came out a little bit dark. I'm not really sure why she was in the hospital. But, you know, you can see her beautiful smile. Um, so you know, at that time, when I was little, I really had no idea the power of photography. But you know, this little camera was kind of like my friend, it was like my sister or my brother, you know, I didn't have I was an only child. So, you know, it was a toy that I enjoy playing around with. And you know, it wasn't till I got to high school, and my mom got me a real camera that I then thought, Oh, I think I'll go to college for photography. And it was kind of just like that. And like goodness, I made that like kind of quick decision. Because it's it's given me a lifetime of happiness. And at this point now, it feels like people are definitely hearing me. And that's really important to me. Yeah.
Felli Maynard 08:38
I have a quick question with that also like well, two questions. One question who gave you your first minox camera? Who gave the remember who gave it to you? Yeah, I
Lola Flash 08:49
do. My mom had this boyfriend. She didn't have a lot of boyfriends. My mom was a single mom. They My parents divorced when I was three. And this was I can remember his whole name. I can't believe it. Bob Monroe. This jazzy guy. I think he had glasses like these. And he cooked and he was just really cool. And he gave me the camera. Yeah, that's
Felli Maynard 09:12
Awesome. So, shout out to Bob. I've really started something.
Lola Flash 09:15
Felli Maynard 09:16
And I, and I guess my quick next question is, how did your parents feel about you deciding to go to college for art? Like for photography? For art? Yeah, what kind of experience was that for you?
Lola Flash 09:30
Yeah, I mean, it was really...I feel very blessed, again, because my parents were like, whatever you want to do, whatever makes you happy, you know? Whereas my friend's parents were like, how are you going to pay the rent? And you know, that's not a real job and everything so you know, when you're 17 you don't know how you're gonna pay, you don't even know what rent means. You know? I was always like, oh, no, you know, so I feel happy that they you know, they supported me and again, I you know, I say all the time, like the support of my family, between, you know, the way I present myself? I always, you know, wore boys clothing. I always had short hair. And my parents were like, "that's Lola," you know what I mean? So they never, they never sort of put me down. And actually, they actually kind of put me up, pushed me up. And my family continues to do that. Yeah.
Felli Maynard 10:19
Shout out to the Flash family!
Lola Flash 10:21
Yeah, should we go to the next slide?
Felli Maynard 10:30
Cross color, here we are. So I guess this is a perfect segue into like, understanding, you know, you, you went to college, you did the whole thing. You went to Mica. We graduated. And then, you know, it's it's time for grad school. And I and there's a, there's a huge gap there. Like, what, why, why? Why did that happen? And as far as like, yeah. Do you feel like it was the right thing? Or? Which, obviously, that's a weird question. But yeah, how do you feel about the whole experience or just waiting so long to go back to school?
Lola Flash 11:07
Yeah, it's really strange. I mean, I think think that well, thinking about it. Now, you know, back in the day, a lot of people didn't get masters, you know, so people just kind of got their bachelor's and went out there and did their thing. So I suppose that, you know, the way that time has passed, you know, masters are more people are getting more masters more. So I see more people, you're going straight from bachelors to Masters, but that really wasn't something that people did. Um, my mom had a master's, she got hers at from the teacher's college here in Columbia. And I think that, you know, our whole family's like, sort of dedication towards education has always been a really important part of my life. And so I knew I would get it, but I just didn't know when. And so I just, you know, I just kind of kept going and doing this cross color, which, at school at Maryland, at Maryland's to a lot of people really didn't go for it, you know, the teachers in particular didn't really think it was that great. They were really still firmly put in, preferably in sort of the black and white experience against Bill Adams, and actually all look like Ansel Adams beard and everything. You know, but you know, they did give me a good foundation so far as the technical skills and you know, how color works and also I'm not Pooh poohing them. But it's just interesting, because for 20 years, I did this cross collar work. And, and we were talking before, it's interesting, because I was, you know, we'll go to go on to talk about how you become very much more experimental. And I feel like for me, I just kind of kept with doing my photography, but thinking about it now about it. Now, you know, this cross collar work, where I'm, you know, making people blue, green, changing, you know, black cat in my photograph then becomes like a white cat, which is like a good cat, right, so to speak? Um, and now, all the museums are loving the work, you know? So, it's interesting. And I think it's also for younger folks to really stick with what they think is right. And just keep pushing. But anyway, back to college. So when I was in London, I know, after college, I moved around the States a lot. And then I went to live in London. Well, I didn't know I was going to live there, but I ended up there for 12 years. And towards the end of my stay, one of my friends Annie had started going to London College of Printing, and she loved it. And so I applied, and my school that I was teaching at, at Haven College, they even paid for me to do the course, and the gaming Tuesday's off for two whole years. And I really enjoyed it, it was a much fuller experience as opposed to the Bachelor's. By then there were more Black photographers that were in books that I learned about, although they a lot of them were still American, which was kind of weird to me that, you know? But we know about this kind of erasure in history so that's nothing new. But at the same time, it was — it made me embrace photography even more to see more folks like me doing the photography. So that's really it. And that's at that point is when I actually decided to stop doing post color. I think because after 20 years, I kind of felt like this isn't going anywhere. So I started working with the love of well, the second leg of my life, which is a four by five camera. Yeah, so here's a few more. These are actually the ones two of the ones that MoMA collected recently, the Whitney has also bought some of these, so it's, um, you know, and they lived under my bed for 20, 30 some odd years. And now they're out in the world. So it's a, I would say, a happy ending.
Felli Maynard 15:06
All in all to say, don't give up, folks! It might take 20 years, but it's common. You know, and if you keep doing your thing, and also just, I guess, keep believing and understanding that, like, your experimentation is valid. Also, I think sometimes we as black queer artists get very caught up in making very representational work. And that is, I guess, my understanding of it. That's not the queer experience, the queer experience is very fluid, very open, very expensive. So, yeah, your experimentation also matters.
Lola Flash 15:45
Yeah. And like I was saying, you know, someone was talking about the work recently at AIPAC. And they said I was queering the vision. And I love that idea. Because this really was the way I saw things. And, yeah. Let's move on. Okay, so now it's your turn. So, you know, I, the reason why I really like chose you to be my mentee for the Queer|Art mentorship program, was because I saw you had this love of large format cameras, and you know, this old school style, you know, and I thought, as a young person, I was like, wow! You know, so that really, you know, was the first thing and of course, you know, the content of your work. And there were so many other things that, you know, we didn't need a whole another show, to talk about why I chose you. But I guess now I'm just kind of thinking about like, why wet plate? I want to hear from you. And now you're working in leather, now that you're doing your Master's. So I was just kind of curious, a little bit, about those choices.
Felli Maynard 16:55
Wet plate. I remember the first wet plate images that I saw, which were — actually they weren't even wet plate, but they were like pre-wet plate. They were daguerrotypes, the daguerrotypes that Carrie Mae Weems used in her series. I forgot the name of the series. But we that infamous series, we know what we're talking — where she took these daguerrotypes, and she repurposed them in a more ethical way. They are plates of, of enslaved people, that were made by this photographer named Louis Agassiz. Ge basically, like, commissioned this whole, like eugenics type of photography session so that we can so that he could prove that Black folks were inferior, an inferior species. And I saw those images and they really stuck with me. Also, just for the fact that outside of those, I didn't have access to seeing daguerrotypes of Black folks that we're not enslaved. So it became something where I really understood that if you — or really was trying to understand how to kind of find a way to insert myself within all of this. And I really wanted to learn how to make daguerrotypes. But I couldn't do that I couldn't do that, because that uses mercury and cyanide and like, I'm not trying to kill myself. So I got I went to the next best thing, which was wet plate photography. And one of the reasons also is just like, I was really interested, I shoot film a lot and the cost, the film was just getting to be very expensive. And I know, you know, this Lola, like, you know, buying film and then developing it is just like — it's a lot. So I wanted to cut out the middleman. So, getting into wet plate photography also allowed me to create my own film, in a way. I'm creating these glass plate negatives that are also positive. So they have this duality to them that I was also really attracted to. And anything that requires a process, please sign me up, I'm interested in. And I think film was getting a little bit too like, "I know how to do this," and I really wanted to like tap into something that also had this like ritual aspect to it? Because you know, shooting film, large film like that — you have to develop a type of, of yeah, of ritual. How you do this every time, so that you remember what you're doing, so that you stay focused. And yeah, wet plate photography became that for me. Another way to like very much so investigate this ritual side of myself, but also having this physical product at the end that I think is very important to the archive, having physical objects, and not just things that live in the ether that is the cloud that is you know, that's kind of what photography has become, ultimately. So that's like the short spiel as to why I got into wet plate. I was also really interested in just, like I said, having a way to intersect history and very much so add my own take onto it. A take that is very much so more Black, more queer, more ethical, more consensual. And yeah, it's just been literally like — I think it's been the thing that has ultimately has allowed me to breathe fresh air into just my work and idea of what work is. And then leather for me is — my grandfather is a pig farmer in Colombia — but also I grew up just around leather a lot. Leather is used for a lot of work tools, for like, work uniforms and things like that. And and the material. Yeah, the materiality of leather is basically flesh. And I'm really interested in that idea of flesh. How do you take care of it? How does it deteriorate? How do you basically also give it another life after death? So that's, that's kind of like, why I decided to like kind of just like, really, as you would say, experiment and dive deep into what I can do with this while also using photography.
Lola Flash 21:26
And forgive me if I say that — I mean, for me, it has, as someone who used to be very much a part of the S&M community, it has that kind of sexy feel to it also to me.
Felli Maynard 21:45
Absolutely, absolutely! We're definitely, you know, suddenly going down that road, which I don't, you know, and it's always like a push and pull. I don't want folks to just think of it as like, just like, sex work? Which, there's nothing wrong with that, but I think there's so many other layers and nuances to it. So, I'm trying to find a way to like, suddenly, like, allow all these things to live in the same universe, while also having their own pieces and parts. But yeah, thank you for saying that, Lola. I really appreciate that.
Lola Flash 22:17
Beautiful. Alright, so let's I'm gonna go down. And I guess, Rodney, you ready to come on? All right. Okay, so I was really kind of happy to find all these pictures of us that it didn't really take very long. I'm sure there's like a load more. But I think this kind of shows like all the little suicides of us from me being at your opening, you came down to my talk at Maryland Institute. And, gosh, I wish I could remember the name of the photographer took this wonderful photograph of us with his cell phone.
Felli Maynard 23:01
Lola Flash 23:03
Think the picture on the right is us at my place. I think I see Christmas, I can see some Christmas lights. So it must have been around Christmas. I don't know what year. And then of course, the other one was just recently this last weekend at Blue Mountain wake. Right?
Felli Maynard 23:22
I want to say the one on the right is probably also like, is this is that after pandemic, like, that's like or during pandemic?
Lola Flash 23:31
I think it might have been during and
Felli Maynard 23:33
yeah, yeah. Which that was also mind blowing, how very appreciative like how fast we had to change. Like, we everyone had to adapt. And I think, like, having you as a space of like, just like release and reflection and comfort and warmth and all that and being able to like, you know, during a time where, like, so much craziness was happening, and also like my family was all like, like, like, everywhere, like, my dad got stuck in Colombia. So I was like, worried about him. And then my brother was stuck in California. So I was just like here and, and just yet, like literally all in all to say that this relationship happened at the best and right time and, and ever since then the pandemic, I think also allowed us to get close in a way that probably would not have happened if it didn't happen. I mean, we would have been close, of course, but I think the way that we got close was just so so beautiful amongst the chaos. Yeah.
Lola Flash 24:38
Because, you know, I think we, you know, we I think from the very beginning we kind of realized that we needed each other you know, and I think because, you know, because there was this mentorship was the first one like official one I've done of course I've mentored people, you know, students and all throughout my life, but um, I remember the beginning I was like, am I doing this right? Like, am I tell? You know, it's I felt like I wasn't I didn't really know if I was doing it right. You were like, oh, yeah, just you know, the stories you tell me about act up, for instance, it's like that's like history that I don't know about, especially talking through the black lesbian lens, you know, and so then having to switch to, to zoom talks and stuff. You know, that was also I think, relationships with Zoom talks, it's like, it's almost different than when you're just sitting on the couch next to someone because you have to, you have to continually talk, right? It's like being on the phone where you can't just sit there and, you know, it has to be this content, continuous dialogue. And, yeah, I think actually, you know, it's just thinking back to this picture, I think that was when I met the first time I met Renee, when she, she drove you here, and I remember I ran outside set a load or Yeah, yeah, that trip. But you know, that you showed up to Micah, and I was so happy that you were able to come to Blue Mountain. And it's, of what I wanted to say also is that this, like, intergenerational relationship we have is so for me, it's so so much a part of my life. I mean, you know, when I talked to Marcia, you know, mercy as my fiancee, she always asked how you are, you know, like, like, like, she asked about the rest of my family, you know. And so just to say that she knows, she also knows how important you are to me. But also the fact that we, you have so many skills that I don't have and vice versa, it's totally an equal relationship. It's not, you know, I mean, yes, I'm older but maybe a little bit wiser but I old I think it kind of we're kind of here when you think about how we're able to support each other do you know and the fact that even like, this morning, like I always know you're gonna be there and so, you know, I don't want to cry or anything.
Felli Maynard 27:08
No, I really, yeah. I really appreciate like, I really when you're in these things, sometimes you you How do I say I know I'm lucky and I know I'm blessed and I know all these things. I know you're lucky I know you're blessed and I think also just like our camaraderie and relationship also admits omits a lot of stuff into the world that the world probably is lacking right now and and you know, just understanding that like, this is not how do I say this is sometimes not normal like folks coming together and really clicking in the way that we did and really like being aware of the fact that like, like you said, it's not not to say that we're even playing field because we are we are but we're also like not and we understand that and we know how to like juggle that in a way that doesn't doesn't stem ego or doesn't stem this like art celebrity person I don't know like you know, you're very like Look you're doing all this stuff this I feel like you're you don't have to pencil me in soon but you still the most like humblest most gentle most warmest person so yeah All in all like I feel blessed I feel happy and I know it's just like the start of like a very long long relationship I'm practically adopted so like you can't get rid of me now
Lola Flash 28:36
as my where my lumps are so let's go on I want to share the little video that Joi Lou — I want to share this video that Joi Lou made for me just this past weekend.
Felli Maynard 28:58
Shout out Joi Lou!
Lola Flash 29:38
Yeah, so I love there's obviously there's a lot more video that is Joi Lou made over the weekend. Some of us just taught some of it was just us talking. And the thing that is just so I don't know it's particularly now the way my life is going like, I mean everything is just falling into place like, you just can't believe it. I can't believe it. But as Marcia says, believe it, she says unbelievable. Every time I say that, I think I hear her saying, stop saying that. But um, you know, because you had just said, like that there were, you could see Syzygy, which is the series that we're photographing here. And you could see it, possibly in other kinds of like, what did you say? You said you felt like...
Felli Maynard 30:28
I felt like it could live as as in another realm, like as also as performance as as video as, as huge video, as also stopped, like, not stop motion, but like very much so like, what's that called? Time lapse. Time lapse video of a lot of what what you're doing, because I think it adds another layer of folks understanding this level of displacement that Syzygy feels navigating the world as they, you know, go through all these sites. And also this... Yeah, I don't know, this, like big feeling of. And it's weird, because I don't know how they can live together. But like, a warm loneliness. And I think you could only get that sometimes with video, with your body.
Lola Flash 31:24
Yeah, I'm thinking even like sound. And, you know, when you first said that, because I'm kind of like, I don't know, it takes me a while, like, I'm kind of like, you know, 24 hours, like, a lot of times 24 hours, like, I understand what someone's saying, or understand my emotions, it's like, really, totally delayed, and I'm fine with that. But when you said it, I was just like, you know, of course, I took it in, and I thought, Okay, I'm gonna think about this. And then like, the next 24 hours, we're out there photographing, and then, you know, as well, who does this amazing footage, and even some of the stuff we're talking about, like, just random stuff we're talking about, like, the impact of photography, chemicals on the world, and, you know, all those kinds of things. So anyway, I was just like, blown away by the sort of, quick kind of fusion of what you had said and how it became. And I think that's a perfect example of, you‚ you know, because we're so close, you're you feel comfortable and saying something to me and suggested something to me, and only for the better. And the same thing for me, I'm not going to be defensive when you say something, because I know that you love me, and you just want it to be improved. And, you know, nowadays, artists are really like stretching much more than than they used to, right. I mean, looking through various game for queer art looking through a bit different, like portfolios of artists work. I mean, there's hardly anyone that's just like a photographer, you know, people are really branching out. And I think that's great. And it's also it's probably why I'm also feeling like, I'm more into thinking about more sculptural things, you know?
Felli Maynard 33:13
And it's always been there, I think, just, you know, finally allowing, you know, you have time in a different capacity, you have also a space and funds in a different capacity that I can't even wait to see, like, what, what this other round will look like for you now that you can actively like, get there, you know, so, yeah.
Lola Flash 33:36
Yes. Yes. Yes. All right. Sorry. Here's our final slide. And here, I think we really we, this is Joi Lou that we spoke of earlier, who did the wonderful footage, of course, Felli me in between shoots. And then there's Justin and Felli in the back on the canoe. I mean, that picture, I love it for so many reasons. You know, like this idea of inserting queer black folks into a space like that, like, what? When did you did you ever read any books where you saw folks like this in a canoe, you know, in the Adirondacks? I mean, we're in New York, y'all. But it's definitely a different kind of New York.
Felli Maynard 34:28
And I will say, that was my first time in a canoe. I had never canoed before, so I was just, I don't know it felt like wow, like, like this city kid finally touched some real water.
Lola Flash 34:44
Yeah, well, and you know, I guess we must say, that Joi Lou fell in. I think you guys were on your way to rescue him in this scene. And that was a whole funny thing. It's okay. He's okay. His phone was okay. That was like two things we're worried about.
Felli Maynard 35:04
Shout out to Pamela and Alexis.
Lola Flash 35:09
Yeah, thanks, Pamela. But, you know, we spent this whole weekend with, I don't know, what's about 10 or 12 of us black queer folks, part of what we call BlackQAG, which is part of Queer|Art organization. And, you know, it's I never experienced something like that before. I mean, what are, I guess? What were some of your highlights, Felli?
Felli Maynard 35:46
Just all the laughter. Like, I think that was just beautiful to hear laughter, kind of like, rolling down these hills. And these, you know, the, like, going across, like the laughter I'm sure reached across the lake and the animals on the other side, were just like - what are these folks up to? Like, why don't they just keep making all these noises, laughing at all hours of the night and whatnot. So I don't know that, for me was this, I think, very, very restorative because I think we hear a lot about - we forget a lot about like, how land remembers and how, like, you know, trees, remember, water remembers, and, and like, what kind of like healing restorative work was done this weekend, and just like our laughter bellowing out in the trees, like, you know, like, accepting it, and like, the wind, accepting it and carrying it down? You know, who knows how far and I don't know, the possibility of imagining and dreaming and laughing and all that is really what I'm left with, in a way that I'm probably going to be full for a very long time. And, that feels great.
Lola Flash 36:55
Yeah, and I think that they were saying like the like, I know one of the tribes was the Mohawk Tribe that used to to be there. And so thinking about, like, you know, my grandmother, who was named after Lola, and her native American background, our Native American background and thinking about, you know, before life became chaotic for them, when they were able to just sit around and smoke the peace pipe. And you know, do I guess, in some ways, the way what we were doing, you know, just communing with each other. I felt like, there's like, when you say restorative, that's when I kind of felt like I was like, we're like, bringing this like this new energy to kind of like, well, we'll never read erase all the harm and damage, but but we can work our little by little each person on, you know, contributing to making the world a happier place. And then these specific places where so much trauma was created, you know, but we can go there and be like, "Okay, we got this," you know, and I just think that there was something really special about the fact that it it's intergenerational. You know, so I think Lexus well, I think Lexus might have been the oldest one, Alexis De Veau. Then there was me, Pamela. So everyone decided we were the elders. And so I think we're kind of like, well, maybe we just need to read, we restate or reimagine what an elder is, right? Because we definitely did fit. I mean, I know for myself, I felt proud to be an elder, in a way, and looking at all of you all youngsters, it was just like, look at what, you know, look at what's happening to this world! Look at us, you know what I mean? That felt really beautiful. But yeah, I just think that, you know, these kinds of interactions, I think, are becoming more consistent, and people are realizing the, the need for intergenerational conversations. And so far as like, the black queer community of artists, I don't think I've ever been in a space like that, you know, often when it's queer artists, just like in the world, we're often you know, just one or two of us, you know, and so, I mean, I've got a lot of white friends because I'm not you know, separatist at all, but there was just something like commonality. Like there's certain things about you know, like grits everyone was all excited about the fish and grits. We were like, yeah, that's right! And that's like, you know, that's part of us. Right? So...
Felli Maynard 39:37
The hot sauce on the table, the hot sauce on the table at every meal. The fact that we had a black queer chef also, I think was very, yeah, it was really beautiful. Because like you said, no one no one like had to, like, be like, oh, like, you know who gonna put the cranberries in the potato salad? Like we didn't have to worry about none of that, like everything was just there.
Lola Flash 40:01
Yeah, that just felt, I definitely felt very, very relaxed and because of the way things have been going for me, which has been great, I really realized that I needed that and like you said, I think it's going to take me through 'til the next time we go, to be honest with you. And again, I was so glad that you came. So I don't know. I mean, I think that I don't really know how to close this out.
Felli Maynard 40:30
What I wanted to ask real quick before, you know, because talking about this whole idea of like, sustainability within our communities and I know, we have been thinking a lot about just like sustainability within the photography community and things like that. Like, like, have you given any any thought like, what what is your what is your take on that? And yeah, how do you how do you feel on navigating, you know, your thoughts about that? Because it's not a one quick fix type of type of thing. So, yeah.
Lola Flash 41:07
Having a sustainable ... career, is that what you're saying?
Felli Maynard 41:12
No, like, as far as, like, sustainability within like, photography as process. Like, I know, you know, we've been thinking a lot about just like, like, our footprints and like, what that means. Like, yeah, like, what are your, what are like, your quick thoughts on that? And kind of, like, I guess, notes to like, photographers who are coming up who want to really get invested in this? Yeah, what is your tips and tricks for them?
Lola Flash 41:38
Yeah, I mean, I definitely because I've been working on the Syzygy project, since division, which you saw some clips up, which we showed some clips of earlier on. And it's digital, you know, when I fought digital for so long, I would go buy my film, you know, boxes, 20 photographs, or piece of film is like, almost $100. I go and buy my film, and all the you know, the guys in the shops are like, "Lola, there's something called digital!" I'm like, "di-gi-tal, what's that?" you know? And this is just a couple years ago, you know, I just like, I didn't, I didn't want to change and because I just, you know, for me, using the four by five camera, you know, I feel like that's the classic way of doing or making portraits, right? That was the beginning of portraiture, was with a large form format camera. And I also think that for me, what I'm working towards is creating these images of my communities that are beautiful and proud. And when you have a camera like that, you know, there's not no slouchin. And people are like feeling a little precious here, right? It just kind of goes with what I you know, what I'm working with. And so, I'm kind of feels like I'm halfway through so halfway through surpassing. And I have now been thinking more because of COVID, I haven't actually been doing those those projects. But now that I'm retiring, I'm looking forward to starting up and COVID seems to be a little bit at bay. But that's another story, right? But um, I am thinking about, should I switch to a digital back? Or should I finish those series? Because I do think about the footprint that processing the film creates. Now once I've processed the film, then I then I make a digital scan of it. Um, so yeah, I'm really kind of thinking I knew I probably what I'm going to be doing is, you know, the next shoot, I'll do, I'll do both film and do a digital back. And then I'll see if there's much of a change in the way that the images look. But that might be kind of hard, because, you know, I don't know, I can't make a test four by five, four foot by five foot print, and compare them. Or maybe I could maybe I just need a few more museums to buy a few more pictures so I can do things like that. Who knows. It's feeling like this, it's the sky is limitless these days. So yeah, I do think about it. And I think about the cost too. And, um, you know, my new camera with 100 megabyte, you know, images, it's just kind of like "wow." Because it's medium format, you know, I might as well say — it's the Fujifilm GFX 100 — I feel like it kind of, for me (and maybe it's just me trying to make myself little better) It kind of marries, you know, it's kind of like, goes closer to film. You know, then the regular digital cameras, digital cameras are getting better and better every day. Right? And so, but there's just, you know, like you were saying about that on that sort of ritual. You know, I love the ritual of you know, getting the camera set up opening the bellows, you know, dragging, first of all dragging the big old thing into wherever I'm going.
Felli Maynard 45:01
With the tripod. With the tripod.
Lola Flash 45:06
You know, the cloth, you know, all those kinds of things. I just love all that, you know, there's something just so special about it. But it's something I'm thinking about. And I know that I'm just one photographer, and it's a small footprint. But I think, for me personally, I want to do my part in making it a better world. You know, and for you that a lot of the chemicals you use are just household chemicals, right?
Felli Maynard 45:38
Well, it depends. I mean, a lot of the chemicals that I'm using are like raw, like raw chemistry. So there is there are moments where things can be a little bit more sustainable with how I like get rid of that, like how I dispose of them, like some of the things can be disposed back into nature, and it will be fine. Because it just, you know, metal salts and things like that. But I have like, you've been also thinking of ways to like make it even more sustainable by using, you know, learning how to use like plant dyes and learning how to, like, use chlorophyll, learning how to also make things that don't, that aren't, I think, sustainability with sustainability, there's also a level of us understanding that, that things have to die. And I think our, our generations have had a hard issue with that one, wanting to be archival and last forever, and all these other things. But I think I'm at a point where with some of my work, I do want to find a way of it being sustainable, so that it can ultimately go back to the earth. It lived a life, it did its thing, now it's time for it to die. So yeah, I don't know, I think sustainability is a tricky thing to think about. You know, like, half of our things are made with plastic. So it's like, you got to pick which battle you want to really like, fight. But yeah, I think ultimately, we are here trying to do the best we can for the whole world, you know, so.
Lola Flash 47:13
Yeah. And I think just like, like enclosure, thinking about sustainability and relationships, that sustainability and, and, you know, and the process. I think that being connected to folks that are there for you, is probably the thing that has kept me going throughout my career, having my friends and my family. That's really like, every time someone says, you know, congratulations to me, I'm proud of myself. But at the same time, I know that I would have never been able to sustain this without having my loving friends. You know, and so, I think for young artists, or artists who — young artist no matter what their age — you know, it's about connecting to folks. And I think, you know, as much as I sort of love the internet and love social media, you know, I think, and I also hate it too? But I think that that's one of the things that that can help bring us, bring people who are, especially people who are maybe aren't in the city, like it's a way of connecting, right? Reaching out to folks. And I mean, I'm talking to Lezley Saar on Instagram. And, you know, I love all the Saar folks. You know what I mean? And, and now I have this like little relationship with with Lezley Saar — I call her my cousin. You know, yeah, so it's, and hopefully one day I'll get to meet her, but I think that we're like, what I think about my teenagers is like, they they almost had, like, more friends, like on the internet than in person. I think that's a little worrying. But I think that, you know, to find a community online is a good thing. And I guess, really, the point is, is just like to stay connected, to stay true to your, your ideas, to your vision, and, you know, reach out to some warm fuzzy folks.
Felli Maynard 49:18
Yeah, and I, yeah. I feel like also, you know, with the pandemic and stuff you really realize the importance of community and you you know, what, we've what we're even going through right now, like in different cities, like it feels like you know, some cities feel like the apocalypse right now. Like folks are really having to come together and like really like hold them and theirs down. So, all in all to say, like, yeah, call your people let them know you love them. And hear their voice you know, so, so yeah. Oh, Lola
Lola Flash 49:54
I love you Felli.
Felli Maynard 49:56
I love you too. Lola. This is my ma-pa, y'all. Like, for real. So much so much love in this room, in this space. But yeah. All right, yeah.
Lola Flash 50:09
That's it. Thank you Okay. All right, so I'm gonna I was hoping
Felli Maynard 50:20
That was so cute.
Lola Flash 50:22
Let's see, stop sharing. Yeah. And then I stopped recording.
Felli Maynard 50:27
I don't think so. No.