One of the most exciting parts of hosting contemporary art exhibitions is the opportunity to welcome living and working artists to SAM to reflect on their artwork and careers directly with audiences. Throughout the three month run of Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue at SAM, we had the honor of welcoming both artists to SAM for conversations on their friendship, artistic processes, and collaborative exhibition.
If you weren’t able to get tickets to see their talks in person, you can now watch both conversations on our YouTube. Check out both conversations below for even more supplemental context following your visit to In Dialogue and be sure to catch the exhibition before it closes Sunday, January 22 at SAM!
SAM Photo Club is almost over! With Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogueclosing at SAM this Sunday, January 22, we are accepting the final photo submissions to the third defining theme and motif of these legendary photographers’ artistic careers: family & community.
To incentivize you to get your last-minute submissions in and join SAM Photo Club, we’re featuring some of the family & community photos taken by SAM’s two staff photographers: Alborz Kamalizad and Chloe Collyer. Outside of photographing all SAM events, exhibitions, installations, programs, and more, Alborz and Chloe are also working professionals. Browse through a few photos taken by Alborz of their family and community below, then discover which of Carrie Mae Weems’s photographs on view in SAM’s exhibition resonates with him.
Family & Community, 2021–2022
My family emigrated from Iran when I was three years old. This made me young enough to easily assimilate into American culture. But even though the bulk of my cultural connections are American, there is Iranian culture swirling inside me as well — culture that is usually easy to ignore while walking through an American life.
With a project I’m calling Rebuilding Babel I have friends engage with artifacts of my familial culture. These objects, which are mostly meaningless to them, render the images inaccurate to who they are. Instead, these photos of friends portray a relationship between my own American and Iranian selves.
The current humanitarian crisis in Iran, as people fight for freedom and equality, has underscored both my connection to and separation from the culture I was born in.
Untitled (Woman with Daughter and Children), Carrie Mae Weems, 1990
Walking into the space where The Kitchen Table series is displayed at the Seattle Art Museum feels like walking into the middle of someone’s psyche. It’s intimate. It’s a real testament to the need to experience photography in person. Moving your body from image to image while they transport you through time cannot be experienced on a screen.
Alborz Kamalizad (he/him) is a visual artist who moves between photography, animation, documentary filmmaking, and illustration. He was born in Iran, raised in the US, and currently works as a staff photographer for the Seattle Art Museum. As a visual journalist and photographer, his work has been featured by Los Angeles’s NPR affiliate, Mother Jones Magazine, the United Nations, The Nature Conservancy, MasterClass, and the Getty.
Participate in #SAMPhotoClub by sharing your own family & community on Instagram and tagging us through Friday, January 20. Once the window for submissions closes, we’ll share a few of the photographs we’ve been tagged in on our Instagram Stories.
– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator
Photo Credit: Untitled (Woman with Daughter and Children), Carrie Mae Weems, American, born 1953. Untitled (Woman and daughter with children). Kitchen Table Series. Gelatin silver print. 1990. 40 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
The third theme of SAM Photo Club is in full swing! With Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogueclosing at SAM on Sunday, January 22, we’re now accepting photo submissions to the final of three defining motifs of these legendary photographers’ artistic careers: family & community.
As inspiration to post your own photo and join SAM Photo Club, we’re spotlighting some of the family & community photos taken by SAM’s two staff photographers: Chloe Collyer and Alborz Kamalizad. Outside of photographing all SAM events, exhibitions, installations, programs, and more, they’re also working professionals. Scroll down to browse through a few photos taken by Chloe of their family and community and learn which of Dawoud Bey’s photographs on view in SAM’s exhibition inspires them the most!
Mom and Dogs, 2016
My family is a jumble of genetic relations and adopted relatives. I was raised by my biological mother and her parents, all four of us born and raised in Seattle, WA. My grandparents are Maddog and Robyn Collyer; two animals that probably shouldn’t nest together but somehow find a balance. My grandad is a funny prankster, a songwriter who plays piano, bass, guitar and for some reason collects flashlights. My grandma is a soft spoken Jeopardy genius and angelic in every way.
Maddog at Night, 2019
Cribbage with Grandparents, 2022
Friends in Laughter, 2022
My oldest friend is my godbrother Ardent has been by my side since sixth grade. We are stuck together for life. He is my most reliable comedian, hype man and supporter over the years.
The Birmingham Project: Wallace Simmons and Eric Allums, 2012
Another symmetrically balanced image from Bey, this time balancing two generations of the African American community in a mirrored image. The poses match, the light source reversed in each side of the diptych. It’s a timeless, solemn memorial to the loss of young life in Birmingham 1963. It’s one of my favorite images of all time.
Chloe Collyer (they/them) is a photographer, journalist, and fifth-generation Seattle resident whose work is deeply connected to the history and communities of the Pacific Northwest. A natural born documentarian, their toolkit includes 15+ years behind the camera, an associate’s degree in commercial photography, and seven years of experience working as a photojournalist and photo editor. In addition to working as a staff photographer at the Seattle Art Museum, Chloe also teaches photography at Youth in Focus and Photo Center Northwest, and has had their work featured in The New York Times, Bloomberg Business, NPR, Buzzfeed, Real Change, Crosscut, and more.
Join #SAMPhotoClub by sharing your own family & community photography on Instagram and tagging us before January 20. Every week, we’ll share a few of the photographs we’ve been tagged in on our Instagram Stories.
The lens can be used all kinds of ways… Not just affirm or confirm the thing in front of the camera, but for my purposes, to actually reshape it in a subjective way.
– Dawoud Bey
How can photography be used to amplify Black voices in America? To commemorate the opening of Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue at SAM, we sat down with renowned American photographer Dawoud Bey to ask this question, talk about his friendship with Carrie Mae Weems, and discuss the significance of showing their photographs in conversation. Watch the video now to hear Bey reflect on what it means to break artistic hierarchies, bring history into our modern era, and tell the complex and powerful stories of Black Americans through a single frame. Don’t miss your chance to experience this limited-run exhibition at SAM before it closes on January 22—get your tickets before it’s too late!