Whether traveling overseas or roaming the streets of New York, Hoboken artist Lisa Harsh looks to discover small, quiet, everyday moments or scenes. For her portraits, she does not pose her subjects. Instead, she says, she responds to their actions and tries to capture their natural beauty while also serving as a visual historian.
Harsh grew up in Kansas and moved to Hoboken in 1994. She is a graduate of Kansas State University and of New York City's Fashion Institute of Technology. She has taken photography classes and workshops at the International Center of Photography in New York, the School of Visual Arts in New York, the Santa Fe Workshops and the Maine Photographic Workshops.
Until Nov. 24, 31 black and white portraits of her travels to Ghana, West Africa in 2000 will be on display at B.A.M.A. Galleries in the mile-square city.
"In 2000 I had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Ghana, the home to ancient arts, alternative medicine and beautiful landscapes, which include rain forests, waterfalls and beaches," Harsh said during a recent interview. "The diversity of the distinct ethnic groups is firmly rooted in tradition, creating a rich culture."
What intrigued Harsh to Ghana were the people, she said. She found them to be warm, open and hospitable.
"My curiosity about the Ghanaians was reciprocated with an equal amount of their curiosity about me," she said.
When she is shooting pictures, Harsh always has the audience in mind.
"I want them to see the natural beauty of the people as they are in their everyday life," she said. "I always try to portray an honest documentation of people, without any gimmickry. Staged photography does not interest me much."
In the near future, Harsh said she hopes to find more venues to exhibit her work and would like to have shows on her portraits from her travels to Cuba, Corfu and Greece.
B.A.M.A. Galleries is owned and operated by musician, artist, and poet Chris Burkhardt. They offer classes in sculpting, painting, drawing, yoga, and dance throughout the week. The gallery is located on 946 Bloomfield St. in Hoboken. For more information call (201) 659-5623 or visit www.lisaharsh.com. q