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Christine Cook’s Camera USA 2018 image provides connection to her historical and personal past


On view through August 3 at the Naples Art Association is Camera USA 2018. Christine Cook was one of 21 Florida photographers who had work juried into the show.

Titled Black Seminole #2, Cook’s photograph represents a part of Florida history from the early 1900s when African slaves escaped the cotton fields to seek freedom. “In untamed Florida, they encountered Seminole Indians who had discovered how to survive in a bug infested swamp environment,” Cook notes in her artist statement. “Africans and Seminoles shared survival techniques with each other for mutual benefit. Africans taught Seminoles agriculture and Seminoles taught Africans how to dress, eat and survive in a difficult environment.”

Cook was attracted to her subject because of the authentically pained expression he wears on his face. “Within his face, he carries our past in art, agriculture, cultural anthropology, environmental change and politics,” Cook relates. “His message is as relevant today as it was long ago.”

In the same way that Cook’s subject provides a connection to our collective historical past, photography provides Christine with an enduring connection to her mother, now long gone. “She celebrated her eight children through photographs that she carried and passed on to us,” says Christine. “She nurtured my art from my first science project when I created a pinhole camera using and old Maxwell House coffee can. She loved her coffee.”

Photography also enables Cook to indulge another passion – travel. “I love to travel, photographing people, places and animals using a variety of techniques to preserve the original image while conveying the feeling I had while taking it.”

June 24, 2018.

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