Josephine Sacabo (www.josephinesacabo.com) lives and works mostly in New Orleans where she has been strongly influenced by the unique ambience of the city. She is a native of Laredo, Texas, and was educated at Bard College, New York. Previous to coming to New Orleans, she lived and worked extensively in France and England. Her earlier work was in the photo-journalisitic tradition, influenced by Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. She now works in a very subjective, introspective style and divides her time between New Orleans and Mexico She uses poetry as the genesis of her work and lists poets as her most important influences, among them Rilke, Baudelaire, Pedro Salinas, Vicente Huiobro, and Juan Rulfo, Mallarmé, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. She has had 7 books of her work published: “Une Femme Habitée” by Editions Marval in Paris in 1991, award winning “Pedro Páramo” by the University of Texas Press in 2002, “Cante Jondo” , “The Duino Elegies”, “Gilded Circles and Sure Trouble” all by 21ST Editions and “Óyeme Con Los Ojos” and “Nocturnes” by Luna Press. Her work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, The Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Art Institute, Chicago, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, The Smithsonian, Washington DC, The Library of Congress, The Wittliff Collection, Austin TX, The New Orleans Museum of Art, The Ogden Museum Of Southern Art, New Orleans, The Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris and La Maison de la Photo, Paris, among others. She has taught highly acclaimed workshops at the Center For Photography at Woodstock, The Santa Fe Workshops and the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles France.
LACP Interviews Josephine Sacabo
LACP asks Josephine Sacabo ten questions about her background, career in and beliefs about photography.
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Josephine Sacabo: I photograph what I identify with, therefore my ‘self-portrait’ as such is a composite . What I saw and what I felt is in my images and they are the best description of the kind of photographer I am. I love working in alternative processes like tintypes and photogravures which make me feel part of a continuum I admire profoundly. I believe in Art as the means of transcendence and connection. My images are simply what I’ve made from what I have been given and I hope they have done justice to their sources.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
JS: I have been shooting for about 40 years.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
JS: I am self-taught.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
JS: I knew I wanted to devote my life to photography when I made my first contact sheet.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
JS: It has never occurred to me to give up. It doesn’t feel like an option to me.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
JS: Photography has given me freedom and connection and taken nothing from me ever.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
JS: Photography has given me a voice and a language.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
JS: I will be teaching a class on the correspondences between poetry and photography.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
JS: I love helping people find their own voice and the courage to express themselves in an environment of trust. The world beyond is often brutal and I love creating a safe spot in which we are all free to dare.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
JS: Be careful of the “glove without a hand” temptations of fashionable ideas because fashion is very fickle.