“Living” Exhibitions 2006-2010

I had been taking photographs since high school but abandoned it for many years until I started traveling to India after college. Even then, I did not process the negatives or work with the images with such seriousness until I met Leandre Jackson, a brilliant photographer based out of Philadelphia. During all this time and for years to come, Leandre was a mentor, teaching me craft and encouraging me to keep shooting regardless of all else. See his work here.

Leandre was a senior paralegal by day at Community Legal Services, a nonprofit for civil legal aid for the poor. I was a law school intern entering my final year of law school. In between intakes for landlord-tenant matters, clients being evicted and suffering in inhabitable apartments, I consulted him about clients, and observed his images on the wall. One day I asked him about the photographs. When I told him that I took photographs too and he asked I share them, a beautiful collaboration unfolded. Leandre, Elizabeth Derickson, another photographer and former CLS housing unit paralegal, and I developed a group exhibit called “Living,” a collection of images portraying ordinary people from around the world and how they live.

In 2006, we exhibited “Living” in the Community Legal Services office in north Philadelphia together for the first time.

In 2008, we had a group exhibit in Chelsea, New York titled, “Look Close, See Far.”

In 2010, we shared “Living” at the Visual Legal Roundtable Conference at University of Pennsylvania.

In 2010, we also had another exhibition in the North Philadelphia office of Community Legal Services and this time with a Gallery Talk. Here are a few images by Leandre of me and Liz talking about our images.


Post MFA.  I submitted a proposal for the first time to read my creative work for the annual symposium at the University of Hawaii-Manoa on Pedagogy and Community Building sponsored by the Center for South Asian Studies.  Something about the call for papers from a wide variety of people- not just academics, but artists, writers, practicioners- drew me to submit a proposal.  All credit goes to Professor Sai Bhatawedkar for this vision.  I have been to many conferences but as a lawyer, not as a writer and certainly not to share from my project about the Meos and family history.  Reading such intimate work, turning the anthropological gaze inwards to understand my own identity and community, was new territory. 

I arrived a few days before the conference and appropriately wandered around Waikiki beach.  To prepare a reading at the beach for a panel was new and should really be done more.  The conference turned out to be as eclectic as one might have imagined with participants from all over- the US, Canada, India and we all had a wondrous few days together, culminating in snorkeling in the Great Pacific ocean.