The Messy Truth - Conversations on Photography
Zora J Murff - On Liberation
In this episode, Gem Fletcher chats with artist and educator Zora J. Murff. They deep dive into Zora’s latest book True Colors (or, Affirmations in a Crisis), a manual for coming to terms with the historical and contemporary realities of America’s divisive structures of privilege and caste. Since leaving social work to pursue photography over a decade ago, Zora’s work has consistently grappled with the complicit entanglement of the medium in the histories of spectacle, commodification, and race, often contextualizing his own photographs with found and appropriated images and commissioned texts. True Colors continues that work, expanding to address the act of remembering and the politics of self, which Murff identifies as “the duality of Black patriotism and the challenges of finding belonging in places not made for me—of creating an affirmation in a moment of crisis as I learn to remake myself in my own image.” The book open’s up discussion about education, collaboration, working with institutions, audience and liberation.
Zora J Murff is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Arkansas. He received his MFA from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and holds a BS in Psychology from Iowa State University. Merging his educational experiences, Murff uses his practice to highlight intersections between various social systems and art. He has published books with Aint-Bad Editions and Kris Graves Projects. His monograph, At No Point In Between (Dais Books), was selected as the winner of the Independently Published category of the Lucie Foundation Photo Book Awards. In 2020 Murff was announced as the winner of the inaugural Next Step prize, awarded by Aperture and Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York. His work was presented at the 2021 Rencontres d’Arles, France, as part of the Louis Roederer Discovery Award.
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