Photographer Carrie Mae Weems wins $625K MacArthur “Genius” Award


posted Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 5:15 PM EDT


Photographer and visual artist Carrie Mae Weems was one of 24 people to win the prestigious MacArthur "Genius" award yesterday. The 60-year-old Weems was the oldest recipient and the only photographer to make this year's list.

"It is beyond wonderful. I feel like I am dancing in the stratosphere," Weems told James Estrin of the New York Times Lens Blog. "I am sitting here with my tiara on and all of my fake jewels, and a bottle of Champagne that’s half empty. Or should I say half full?"

Weems, whose work explores gender, race, sexuality, politics and personal identity, will receive a $625,000 "no-strings-attached" grant for being named a MacArthur Fellow in 2013. She says she already has a project in mind for the grant.

"It’s about women who are turning 60, but it’s also about those people who came of age in the 60s," she said. "I’ve spent years shooting lots of video and stills, and I want to do a feature-length film about a woman turning 60 who came of age in the 60s and use that as a metaphor to examine what it means to come of age in one of the most exciting and tumultuous periods of the 20th century."

Check out some of her work on the NY Times blog. There's also a touching video embedded below where Weems discusses what it felt like to be named a MacArthur Fellow.

"I get this phone call that they had awarded me the MacArthur and I thought 'Oh. Not me. It can't be me. Gotta be a mistake,'" she says in the video. "And I put my head down and I cried. I'll continue to work very, very, very hard and maybe the difference will be that I'll have a little bit more resources in order to do that work. I won't have to fight so hard for every single thing."

(Via The Online Photographer)