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Contemporary Women Photographers

Alayna N. Pernell

Contemporary Women Photographers


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

11:00 PM

Keiko Hiromi, Iaritza Menjivar & Alayna Pernel

Remote Meeting (See Instructions/Get Zoom Link Emailed)

In this joint meeting with the Boston Camera Club, three contemporary women photographers of color will each share her perspectives, processes, and Influences. Alayna Pernell, Iaritza Menjiver and Keiko Hiromi will each do a short presentation, then we will move to a lively panel discussion moderated by Boston Camera Club member Julie Berson.

The panel will touch on such topics as

  • The creative process.

  • How does gender and race affect what and how you photograph?

  • How does history, memory and the present affect your work?

  • How does the history of photography influence your work?

  • Other questions from the audience.

Keiko Hiromi will share her work from various projects, both personal and commission work that includes Drag Queens of Jacques Cabaret in Boston, Portraits of Hibaku-Sha, Liberia during and after the Ebola endemic, Monadnock Street her neighborhood in Dorchester,  along with her approaches to photography, the stories of past and hopes for the future. As a Japanese photographer based in US, photography has been her way of understanding and connecting to the world around her. She hopes to keep photographing and staying authentic to her point of view.   She believes perspectives that are authentically translated into visual space are one of the fundamental ways to connect people via critical dialogues.

Iaritza Menjivar is a Somerville-based photographer whose work honors underrepresented people within her close communities. With visual storytelling, Iaritza shares an immigrant story through her family. "First Generation" is a long-term project about her family, who are immigrants from El Salvador and Guatemala. In these photographs, she shares the story of three generations— first generation immigrant, first generation American and second generation American. Her goal is to honor her family’s hard work and to prove the worth of their sacrifices. It is a privilege to be born into two different cultures, but an unbearable pressure to be the one to save her family in a world in which she is seen and treated as an outsider because of the color of her skin. Nevertheless, the loyalty and love they all have for each other is what will help them to move forward. Through this conversation, she wants to express gratitude and devotion to her family and community.

Alayna N. Pernell's practice considers the gravity of the mental wellbeing of Black people concerning the physical and metaphorical spaces they inhabit. She will share an overview of her practice, including her ongoing research concerning collections featuring Black women held at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Alayna N. Pernell (b. 1996) was born and raised in rural Alabama, The USA. In May 2019, she graduated from The University of Alabama where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Photography and a minor in African American Studies. She received her MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2021. Her work has been exhibited in various cities across the United States. Pernell was also recently named the 2020-2021 recipient of the James Weinstein Memorial Award by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Department of Photography; and the 2021 Snider Prize award recipient by the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Pernell is currently the Photography and Imaging Associate Lecturer in the Art and Design Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. More information on Alayna can be found on her website

Iaritza Menjivar is currently the Events Coordinator of the Somerville Arts Council and assists with public art projects. She is past Associate Director at the Griffin Museum of Photography and continues to work as a freelance photographer. Iaritza’s clients include, The Washington Post, Maine Media Workshops, MIT, and LISC among others. In 2015, Iaritza held a BFA from Lesley University. In 2016 and for three consecutive years, was awarded the presidential scholarship for the Advanced Mentorship Study Program in Visual-Storytelling and Documentary Projects at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She was also a recipient of the St. Botolph Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. Iaritza has exhibited at the Leica Gallery Boston, Modern Families at ArtsWestchester, and the Emerge-Cubes at Photoville in New York. She has been a judge panelist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s photography fellowships, speaker for a panel discussion at AIPAD and guest curator for The Fence. More information on Iaritza can be found on her website

Keiko Hiromi is a Japanese photographer based in Boston, MA.  She came to Boston to attend university when she was 19 years old, where she took her first photography class.  She fell in love with photography and never looked back.  Her work has appeared on numerous international publications including NYT, Time magazine, Der Spiegel, Wall Street journal, Asashi and many more.   Her photographs also have been exhibited around globe including two solo exhibitions in Tokyo and at Massachusetts Statehouse. More information on Keiko can be found on her website

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