An interview: Zoe Massey, Peruvian photographer.

Mi Perú de Bolsillo, Zoe Massey.
From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.
Zoë P Massey is a Peruvian photographer working in visual arts since 1999; with numerous solo and group exhibitions today she share something about her and her work.

- What made you choose photography as medium of expression?  Any artistic background in the family?
I always liked arts, photography was a big hobby while growing up and signed in for short photo workshop and totally fell in love with it the first day we worked in the darkroom.
My father is an artist though I didn’t grow u with him, but my mother was an arts and life lover while gradma a great arts journalist.

- This images, are the product of experimentation?
I believe all arts are product of experimentation.
- Why a digital composition and not the representation of reality as it is?
What is reality? And why would that be a limit? Arts are a never ending source of exploring, playing, discovering tools. So I embrace that.

- So your approach to create something is more like lets’ see what happens if I do this or if I put this here?
I tend to let my imagination flow, experiment with materials and colors, digital or physical collages. Ideas go morphing as work starts evolving.

- What is the reason of these images?
No special reason, just all of them are free flying objects, just made a list of floating and flying images to recreate spaces.

- We have no balloons in Lima, neither airships, so why such alien objects?
There were balloons some not that far time ago maybe you weren’t here yet; and again why should we restrain ourselves only to what we see? That would be the biggest wall in an artistic life and work.

- So have you seen those in Lima or in old family photos? 
Yes of course, balloons here were used for bungee jumping as well as for tourism. You sound surprised about them, but as I said, restraining ourselves to work only with what we get to see in our lives would create a limit. And …the sky is the limit. Or maybe not even so.

- The circular frame, is just  for an aesthetic reason or has it some meaning/symbolism?
No symbolism, just playing with non-traditional formats it came up that circles are less static than squares or rectangles, helping the whole floating image and feeling to work better.

- You have a series of snapshots of garbage in your Facebook page. Don't you think it will be more interesting or  provocative to make good art works from it and exhibit it the same city? and why?
Not meant to be an art work, I am a writer in a local newspaper too, a communication person, so these were made in order to inform and report, that was the objective.
- So you write for a newspaper? What do you write about?
I write for Publimetro (Metro in other countries) on arts and cultural events in Lima.
I also write for Rumbos, a tourism online magazine on environmental issues, and sometimes collaborate with social campaigns Like “Glass is Life” in which different writers and bloggers support the use of glass instead of plastic.

- Do you think that as a photographer, you have some social responsibility, especially now that Peru is changing?
Not as photographer, teacher or writer but as Peruvian, we are all responsible.
Peru is not Lima, there is more money sure, but not for everyone. Segmentation, racism, poor education, health, security is still the same. I cannot say that Peru is changing positively; it's just turning into a much more consumerist country regardless of the past, present or future. Having more restaurants doesn’t mean there is a better country.
Young people have been protesting always. Been part of it before, support some of their causes today. As I mentioned its responsibility of all of us. 
From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.

From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.

From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.

From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.

 - You have the sky as an important element in your images more accomplished images,in my opinion, why?
I like open spaces in daily living. The ocean, the sky, mountains, etc. Nature in general.

- And the sky is blue not grey as it is in Lima half of the year, do you like Lima? or is a way to escape?
I have no need to escape I’m lucky enough to be able to travel in Peru as much as possible and capture a bit of everything from those trips. That series is called “Mi Peru de Bolsillo” and are collages of different parts of Peru, coast, mountains and jungle. There are also some grey skies in those collages.

- So do you like Lima?
I love Peru, I don’t really like many  people from Lima, but you can't put everyone on the same bag, can you?
All places in Peru have a special thing to give, show and from which to learn. I don’t like chaos, noise and disrespectful selfish people so that is society not the city itself.

- You did a workshop for children with special needs, how was that experience and did it influence your work or some photographic series?
Probably one of the best working experiences so far and no, no influence in my pictures but a better understanding of their world and the way they see the rest of it, how we must trust, support and encourage special needs people and how there’s always more to learn from everyone.

- You have tattoos of dragonflies, why those insects?
Let’s just say. I really like them. Not much behind that. And not the only tattoos I have, they all represent some important stage of my life, or loved ones.

- So if they all represent some stage in your life it does have a meaning, even if is not an important one.
They are all important.

- What is the best lesson you remember from your days as a student of photography?
As natural learning, the importance of self-criticism and accepting and understanding opinions on my work in order to make it better.
As academic learning, the fact that you can work with several different formats and materials, that photography is not a one dimensional art limited to printing paper.

"It was not you, is me"
- Your show  "It was not you, is me"  is very different from the rest of your work that can be seen in your websites,  this is mainly eyes and mouths, what was behind this idea?
That is actually my 4th solo, and more than 10th group show. Its not that different as I had already worked in art installations and participative projects before. I like the idea of bringing the viewer to be part of the art show. In this case pictures were sent from dozens of people, known and unknown to me and from several parts of the world creating a sort of collective work.
It is a piece thought of being only of eyes as to change the perspective of the photographer-observer to become the one observed

- Are you working in some new series now?
Not now, I am focusing on environmental installations, taking part in art festivals related to this issue. Recently presented an art project on a festival parallel to COP20 in Lima and will do something similar in March again.

- What is the COP20?
Conference of the Parties number 20 as it was the 20th meeting since it was founded, being the most important international and annual meeting on worldwide environmental issues, control on gas emissions , etc. in 2014 it was held in Lima, next year it will be held in Paris. You can find out more here

From the series "Houses".
From the series "Houses".

a poem - a flower

"There is a flower I have found,
there is a smile I have kissed
and I want to keep on my hands
the flower that has kissed me"
She hides from the sunlight
away in a dark garden
 where her brown eyes
cannot see mine.

Her name I cannot tell
reserved to the Gods it is
as from heaven to hell
all beauty and danger she is.

All what she wants is
a caress on her face
while the wind and sun sing
these magic words to her.

and as the time goes
the flower slowly rises everyday
to smile to the sun
and let herself be hold on my hands...

Untitled XXXIII. From the series The solitude of delirium.

a poem - Rotten

My heart has been broken thousands of times
and I have broken others only twice.

I clearly remember their names
but barely their faces
maybe, I was not in love.

I danced with some of them
and held hands with only ten
maybe, that is the way I used to love.

I told them magical words from my heart,
call them princesses and said they are beautiful as a summer sky
but all that was forgotten.

Poetry is useless these days,
who cares if the moon cries for us every night.

Everything is rotten.
She could not understand my gaze
and a year ago she said No

if the sky was red when that word was said
was a sign that I was in love?

I wrote all their names on my skin in red
but if it was me who had tears when they left
was it love?

and if i still can smile when I remember your eyes
is because
maybe, I still can love...
                             Carlos Lopez, December 2014

Two stories. From the series The solitude of delirium.

a poem - F**ck you all

The princess has cried
because the sun has hidden
and despite the rising stars
still is broken her heart.
There is no storm anymore
just a rainbow to be seen
and if it rains again
shout to the clouds: "F**k you all then!"
The princess doesn't want to be princess
she only want to be kissed
but in the meantime come with me
and let's smoke some weed. :D
                                           Carlos Lopez, November 2014.

a poem - messy hair

You wanted to kiss me today
and I barely could escape.

Beautiful is your face,
light blue your mischievous eyes,
flirty your fleeting smile
and your anger spontaneous
but you are a very dirty dirty girl
that I like your messy hair
and tell you goodbye every day.

                                                              Carlos Lopez, April 2014.

a poem - The princess

I can see trough your eyes
 the little girl behind,
 feel your scratched hands
 looking for a nice heart,
 and hear your soul
 laughing at the sky.

However I cannot kiss you tonight
 neither flirt with your smile
 nor tell you my poems till sunrise.

But I will kidnap you tomorrow somehow
 close you eyes with my hands
 and let you imagine
 the princess that you really are.

                                                              Carlos Lopez, October 2014