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Crosscurrents

Jean Melesaine’s 'conscious photography' reflects on representation

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Kari Orvik
/
Jean Melesaine

 

Jean Melesaine grew up all over the Bay, but she picked up her love of photography in San Jose working for the media collective Silicon Valley Debug. Jean’s work ranges from documentary photography to personal portraiture.

Whether her camera is pointed at her queer Pacific Islander community or a Black Lives Matter protest, her eye is always drawn to the way people thrive despite the struggles they’re facing. She came to KALW’s studios to talk about the power and responsibility of documenting people’s stories.

"I try to practice all the time this concept of conscious photography. Conscious photography comes from being more intentional about photos you take. You don't just take the photo and move on, you can actually shift someone's life through photo."
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Credit Jean Melesaine
A traditional kava circle gathers in Dimond Park in Oakland. From the "Pacific Worlds" exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California.
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Credit Jean Melesaine
Participant in a traditional kava circle in Dimond Park in Oakland. From the "Pacific Worlds" exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California.