|The New York Optimist
In the beginning there was light, and
out of the light, darkness was born.
Light and dark: two sides fraying to
form a single vision, blending to
create the shadows where dreams
rise up like vagabond angels on
tattered, diaphanous wings.
This is the photography of Sequoia
Emmanuelle. Blending the whimsical
surrealism of an emergent
underground with technique as sharp
as broken glass, the images reveal a
lavish dreamscape in pieces, one
frame at a time. Extravagantly staged,
Emmanuelle's portraits encapsulate a
growing subculture while remaining
fiercely independent in their execution.
Raised on the fringes of American culture by a family of gypsy artists, costume designers, belly dancers, metaphysical healers and fashion
photographers, the 25 year-old artist imbues her work with a style that is as informed by her own developed aesthetic as it is by her unusual
upbringing. After putting herself through college, Sequoia Emmanuelle delved into the New York art world. Not content as a simple observer,
she helped found La Reve and the Freek Factory—two production companies whose work brought her into close proximity with a visionary
culture influenced by electronic music, neotribal fashion, theatrical performance, and body art.
"Almost every experience I have is being tainted with elements of my own storytelling," says Emmanuelle, describing her creative interactions
with the radical galaxy of performers, musicians, fashion designers, and visual artists who, in addition to forming her circle of friends, have
become the subject matter of her work.
Though obsessed with a specific niche of modern-day American culture, Emmanuelle's portraits are accessible to all. "My work is about
humanity. I look for the beauty in everyone, and try to find the light in the darkness, turning pain into beauty. I work to reflect love, passion,
and hope in a way that tells a story that every viewer can relate to on a human level."
Splitting her time between New York City and San Francisco, Emmanuelle is currently working on a book of her photography.