Member of the Month September 2017
The photographs in this series are part of an ongoing project I have been undertaking in Mexico since 2011. Though individual images have appeared in a number of exhibitions across the US (including LACP’s Street Shooting Around the World exhibition), Sacred/Sagrado: Festivals of Mexico will be shown as a solo exhibition for the first time from January through March, 2018 at the gallery at Pearl S. Buck International, in Bucks County, PA. The exhibition will be available for other venues after March.
The term “sacred” in the exhibition’s title invokes two distinct definitions of the word: that which is holy, and that which is a cherished part of the life of a community. Though all the festivals I have photographed tie back in some way to the religious calendar (Mardi Gras, after all, is the day before Lent), only about half of them exhibit the deeply held beliefs of the Catholic faith. Other images represent a profound sense of tradition, identity, and community that is every bit as intensely felt; In San Martin Tilcajete, for example, people prepare for the annual mock wedding ceremony for days each year.
All my images capture people as and where I meet them. I am continually astounded by the beauty of ordinary human moments, and that is what I aim to capture. My goal is to disappear and wait for those moments, for everything to fall into place—for a photograph to happen.
Jenna Mulhall-Brereton is a both a photographer and a professional in the philanthropy sector. These two passions are fueled by her travels throughout the world. Her photography is rooted in the documentary tradition, and she most often shoots in black and white. For her, this boils down what is most essential in an image—a graphic quality, a gesture, a subtle expression, a quality of light.
She maintains a deep and abiding love of film, and most often prints images by hand in an analog darkroom. She has been shooting and printing this way since she first became a photographer, nearly twenty years ago, and has been fortunate to study print making with masters like Chuck Kelton, among others.
Jenna has also had the opportunity to learn from extraordinary master photographers, Peter Turnley, Ron Haviv, and Chris Rainier among them. She is especially grateful to have been able to call Mary Ellen Mark both mentor and friend—as well as an enduring inspiration.
Her photographs have appeared in juried exhibitions throughout the US, and in a variety of publications, including the book recently published by Aperture: Mary Ellen Mark on the Portrait and the Moment.