Xaviera Simmons Quotes

Now everyone’s main objective of taking photographs is to have a photograph for Twitter or Facebook. I find that troubling. If you have an opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama, don’t work out your camera or iPhone issues. Sit and a listen to what the man is saying, because nine times out of 10, you’re not going to look at that photo. You’re not going to look at the video. As a photographer, I don’t carry a camera. I have my iPhone, but I don’t carry a camera. I want to live.

I’m a really optimistic, positive person, but I’ve been heartbroken on a social and political level, heartbroken on a personal level and anywhere in between. I think heartbreak is one of the best artist’s catalysts for creation. That doesn’t mean one should look for heartbreak; I don’t agree with that. At a certain point you can use heartbreaks from other people’s stories, your own life or before. You don’t have to dwell on heartbreak.

My studio works in cycles. I am consistent with all of the practices, but I give attention to one part for a certain amount of time. I say, “Okay, I’m making performances,” and sometimes that means I can’t be making photographic works. As I’m maturing as an artist, years have passed and I feel that I’m becoming a better craftsperson in multiple fields, but that takes time. Also, because I trained as an actor, I hold this thing about how an actor prepares and therefore I try to prepare for all of my tasks.

Everything I make is with intention. I’m not very haphazard with my artist work, although I wish I was sometimes. I’m very conscious of the conversations I’m pushing about different threads and themes around landscape and characters that exist – how it’s pictured, who’s pictured it, who’s owned it and who’s been able to inhabit certain spaces. I have other interests as well. I’m really obsessed now with going to gay male dance clubs. I find those thrilling. I’m interested in what future characters can come.

During my performances, I don’t like folks to take pictures because I feel that we live in a very photographic time. Photography was invented over 100 years ago, and now it’s at its peak because everyone has a camera. The fact that they are taking experiences and filtering them through a mechanical lens I find amazing, but also disheartening. Amazing when you have photographs that start revolutions. Disheartening when you have people making photographs but not living.

I’m a big researcher. I love libraries and archives and I have a huge National Geographiccollection. I have a good amount of books and records, and I’m on the Internet. I think research yields a lot and can help you pull different discordant works that may not be harmonious. Through time and with patience and focus, you bring them all together.