FotoFest Exhibitions

Sheila Pree Bright

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Sheila Pree Bright explores suburban life within the African-American culture. Although suburbia was at one time synonymous with white flight, photographed humorously by Bill Owens in the 1970s and surrealistically by Gregory Crewdson in the 1990s, Bright’s subtle Suburbia project (2005-2007) contrasts the U.S. media’s projection of stereotypical African-American attempts to become “suburban” with a more realistic picture of middle-class African-American life. Bright seeks to explore the variations in an existence that subverts the stereotype rather than accepting the television-based fiction. Her images are as much about the assumptions of perception as the construction of identity.

Sheila Pree Bright, born 1967, is a fine art photographer base in Atlanta. Her large-scale works combine a wide-ranging knowledge of contemporary culture, while challenging perceptions of identity. Bright received national attention after winning the “Santa Fe Prize” from the Santa Fe Center for Photography in 2006 for her body of work The Suburbia Series. The project takes aim at the American media’s projection of the typical African-American community and depicts a more realistic and common ideology of African-American life. The series also explore the variations and similarities of an existence that subverts lifestyle and culture, particularly as it relates to Americanism. As a result, Bright has emerged as a new voice in contemporary photography with her edgy portrayals of urban and suburban themes, as well as her provocative commentary about American beauty standards. Recently, Bright has embarked on one of her most ambitious projects to date called the Young Americans which premiered at The High Museum of Art Atlanta in May 2008 and now is working on her new anticipated series In High Definition: The Globalization of Hip Hop Culture.