Mothers, mountaineers, artists, athletes, hippies and huggers. This is you, your friend, family member, colleague, partner, acquaintance. This is the MAH, or rather, what it’s made of. Visitors and members of the MAH run the gamut from mountaineers and anarchists to harlequins and helpful little ones. The MAH, like it says just outside on the mural, is your museum, your community. You are the MAH.
With this project, I wanted to seek out who the MAH is and express the various identities that make up all of its members and visitors. Using the MAH acronym, participants identified themselves using words beginning with M, A, or H. Of course this seems a bit daunting—how can I describe who I am with one very specific word? Of course, you can’t. We are multiplicitous individuals and our identities are dynamic. These are just fragments of how these participants love and relate to the MAH.
Each of these photographs was taken with either a large format 4×5 camera or a medium format Hasselblad, and then printed in Cabrillo College’s incredible art photography darkroom. I chose to use film photography for its higher quality and the ability to manually manipulate each image, and because it is more personal and connecting than digital photography. Not only was I able to spend a brief amount of time with each participant, but I spent a lot of time processing these photographs, allowing me to get a little bit closer to each person through printing their photograph. I thank each and every person who was willing to participate, and I hope that they come back to the MAH and take their photograph with them when this installation comes down.
In addition to the participants, I need to give special thanks to: Gordon Hammer, Janet Fine, and Susan Hoisington from the Cabrillo Art Photography department and, of course, Nina Simon, Jessica Varela, Elise Granata, and the entirety of the staff, interns, and volunteers at the MAH. Being an intern here is one of the best experiences I have ever had and I cannot wait to be involved again in the future.