Monday, April 2, 2012

Oakland stories in view with Projet En Vue

Photos © Sati Leonne Faulks
I enjoy art. I even like a lot of it. But it's rare that I see a work and get really excited about it, yet that's what my response to Projet En Vue was.

Projet En Vue is like Faces of Oakland times 1,000. When I take pictures of people at events around Oakland, I know they each have a story. Sometimes I know a little of their story, sometimes they're complete strangers. But I rarely get a chance to hear more of their story from them. With Projet En Vue, Saskia Levy-Sheon and Sati Leonne Faulks are creating a visual and oral history of Oakland by photographing and interviewing people they meet around Oakland.

Sati is the photographer and does an amazing job of capturing people. Saskia interviews them, and lets the story go where it will. Saskia and Sati choose people at random, and will interview anyone they meet or pass on the street who looks like they have a story to tell. Given the variety of people they encounter in Oakland, it makes for diverse, unusual, fascinating whole.

I asked Saskia how they decided to start the project. She replied:
We mostly decided to start the project because we both are passionate about people and traveling and creating portraits, Sati through photography and me through words. We were also incredibly inspired by Oakland and wanted to learn more about our community and the people in it...The goal of our project is to put people and their stories into perspective and "in view", hence the name "en vue".

They've done 17 portraits so far, but I've only read a few of them completely. Like reading a great book, I'm torn between a desire to read it straight through, but I want to savor it and don't want to reach the end. Fortunately, they're still interviewing and photographing people, so by the time I finish the 17, there'll be more to enjoy.

Sati and Saskia are planning a series of gallery shows featuring portraits as well as interactive audio installations. They're also self-publishing a photo book and 'zine at a local print shop.

Like everyone they interview, Saskia and Sati have their own unique, interesting stories. I plan to turn the tables on them, and photograph and interview them to learn more. Look for more info in the coming months.

Check out the amazing Projet En Vue at their website.

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