Gabrielle Steib is a photographer, and writer based out of New Orleans, Louisiana. Much of her work commemorates her maternal heritage, a strong connection to the women who immigrated from Nicaragua to New Orleans. Her work explores womanhood through the lens of grief, trauma, autonomy, hyper-sexualization, and independence.
How did your interest in your medium begin and how did you arrive at your current style?
My interest in the medium of photography came with helping my mother archive her old negatives and digging through prints of my grandparents. Both of my grandparents were amateur artists. My grandfather was a painter from Mexico and my grandmother a Nicaraguan actress and translator. Neither gained much fame through their mediums, but both kept hundreds of photographs, paintings, clothing and books from those eras of their work. My mother showed me how to shoot film, and I began to take darkroom classes at my university.
How do you feel about the relationship of an artist to their city or surroundings?
I think an artist’s work is contingent on where they grow up, what culture they experience and who they learn from. I think growing up with a Latino family in the South is like a rare breed. It contradicts itself at times, but also allows the space to notice things overlap that wouldn’t be seen otherwise. Being able to hang laundry on wire in my abuela’s backyard while Mexican music is playing from the kitchen. The scent of gallo pinto and platanos while simultaneously smelling the neighbors barbecue. It’s confusing to be part of two worlds which are so different yet have many similarities.
How do you choose your subjects?
I am most fascinated by women of color. The women breastfeeding on public transportation. The single mothers. The addicts. The victims. I think being raised by a lineage of women of color who have suffered has drawn me to study and recognize women like them. I am extremely influenced by the senses. Smells, touch, taste, and as I do in my writing, I attempt to capture these senses in my photographs as well.
Who have been some of your biggest influences or your best teachers?
Do you have a creative or artistic peer group in your area that you're a part of?
I think the Pink Room Project is a great platform for women to express themselves in music and film. They are a couple of friends of mine who create audio and video in safe spaces to preserve culture and empower marginalized groups of people through dance parties and recordings.
Tell me about a recent, current, or upcoming project or exhibition.
I’m hoping soon that we will be hosting an exhibit for women of color with the help of a store called Refresh, and our friends at Pink Room. Follow me for updates!