Patrice Helmar Wins Rasmuson Foundation Grant

May 31, 2016

Patrice Aphrodite Helmar has been received a 2016 Project Award from the Rasmuson Foundation. The $7,500 grant will go toward a large-format camera with which Helmar will complete Dirty Old Town, a photographic project documenting the local haunts of Juneau, Alaska, where she was raised. An exhibition of the project will be held next year, and she plans on publishing the work as her first book.

“I started this work last summer by shooting 300 sheets of 4x5 film,” Helmar said, according to the Juneau Empire. “Being from and growing up in a small town is about a constant state of remembering. These photographs aren’t conceptually or documentary based. I like to work in the vein of something that one of the great American photographers, Garry Winogrand, said about photography, ‘I like to think of photographing as a two-way act of respect. Respect for the medium, by letting it do what it does best, describe. And respect for the subject, by describing it as it is.’” Of the Graflex Speed Graphic Camera, which she will purchase with the grant money, Helmar said: “It’s a tank of a camera and holds up to my bringing it into different and not so delicate environs. It uses sheet film that’s four-by-five inches, and even the most expensive digital cameras on the market today can’t replicate the quality,” she wrote.

Helmar is one of 25 artists selected for a Project Award by the Alaska-based foundation. The recipients, according to the foundation, include “literary artists, photographers, crafts artists, poets, multi-disciplinary artists, carvers, composers, folk and traditional artists, performance artists, novelists, and installation artists.”