My mother always told me I was an observer. She said I would sit still for hours, just watching the world go by. I got my first camera at age 12 but I did not realize the power of photography until I got a chance to participate in a photographic research project on killer whales. There, I began learning the power that photographs held.
I ended up in California. I met a master photographer and printer named Robert Cavalli. I begged him for a job for over a year. Finally, he hired me and taught me everything I know about the possibilities of developing and printing all kinds of black and white film. He was an amazing teacher and I could not have paid for a better education in any school. He was a painter with light and his passion for the medium transferred to me.
Developing my own personal style began when I had to ride a train each day for over 120 miles. It was a unique view of the world. The landscape moving while I sat still, suspended in a metal box. Images scrolled by, some just a flash, some slowly disappearing from view. It became a challenge to capture these visions.
When I reached the end of my trip, my mind always created a single giant mental canvas on which the journey was etched. All that I had experienced was reflected on my mind's eye including what I had seen and feelings about the journey. I realized that this happens when we travel through or visit a place and I began to wonder how I could convey this in an image. I began to collaborate with Robert and it was from our collaborations and years of practice that I was able to develop the image style I use today.
I call them “Crossings”. They represent the images left in our mind’s eye that form after we visit or travel through a place, our inner, giant, mental canvas.
Rebecca McNeill Meyers is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Northshore.