Photographer Marjorie Salvaterra’s poignant black-and-white images capture the essence of real women in today’s society.
With world-renowned furniture showrooms in Miami, New York, and L.A., Ralph Pucci is famous for his keen eye for talent. At his Wynwood gallery, each piece by designers Vladimir Kagan, Richard Meier, Jens Risom, Patrick Naggar, and India Mahdavi rests apart in the vast space like a sculpture to ponder. And each conveys a distinct mood. The same can be said of the photographs by Marjorie Salvaterra on display. Five years ago, Pucci discovered the photographer and began introducing her work into his showrooms. “True originality is rate. Marjorie hit on something,” says Pucci. “Her work is cinematic and wacky, but also serious.”
In the images in Salvaterra’s book HER: Meditations on Being Female, published by Glitterati in 2017, women deal with the conflicting identities of being female. They pose in gorgeous, impractical dresses in the midst of fierce environments. They whisper and laugh, wearing vintage swuinsuits and underwear. They march from the ocean, with eyeliner streaking and ballgowns dragging. They’re gloriously unmasked, messy beautiful and real.
Salvaterra remembers the moment she conceived of the image titled, “The Weight of Water.” To her, it seemed the women in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband and two children, always seemed effortlessly perfect. “I was trying to do it all, to hold it together – that whole balancing act, I thought, ‘One more drop of water could absolutely sink me,’ and this picture of women emerging from water and falling apart from the weight of it came to me,” says Salvaterra. “I shopped for wigs and vintage dresses, and somehow talked friends into standing in the freezing cold ocean at 7 in the morning. So many women see this image and tell me, ‘That’s my life!’”
One collection led to another, built around themes that drive women’s lives, like boundaries and repression. Thanks in part to Pucci’s worldwide platform, and also her incredible storytelling capability, Salvaterra’s career has soared. In “Eve Unraveled,” women lie face down in the grass. Their hair is styled, their shoes are fabulous, but otherwise they’re naked. It’s that feeling when you’re forgetting something,” Salvaterra laughs, adding that she wants to have a dress made of “Eve Unraveled” fabric and wear it to a Hollywood opening.
After working exclusively in black and white (“It leaves more to the imagination,” she says),Salvaterra hints that her next collection may include color. In the meantime, her images are on display in Pucci’s Miami gallery, where they, along with each curated piece of furniture, make their own distinct statement.
By: Margit Bisztray