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five questions: teresa rafidi

I met Teresa Rafidi by chance three years ago when I went into Dunn and Brown to review Linda Ridgway’s show there. Teresa was photographing the installation, and my family struck up a conversation with her and the artist. Ridgway walked us through her show and Teresa interjected witty comments from across the gallery. Meeting Ridgway and Rafidi that day was one of those moments that begins to define a new life chapter, as my husband and I were about to launch our brainchild, the culture site Renegade Bus, and these women would figure greatly into what that venture was to become.

Since that time, Teresa and her boyfriend, the artist and designer Ric Martin, have become good friends. Teresa is a regular presence in Dallas gallery scene, and has photographed all of the rising stars of Dallas’ old and burgeoning art culture, like “it kids” Bret Slater and Gabriel Dawe (pictured above, respectively). In her portrait practice, she’s got an incredible way with people, as good photographers always do — she’s kind and funny, and always manages to effortlessly capture the essence of people. And her practice an artist has produced a body of work that’s haunting, beautiful, and full of open-ended narratives.

Being with Ric for the past six years, Teresa has necessarily helped raise Ric’s two teenage boys. I imagine growing up with this wonderful lady around is nothing short of influential and inspirational, so I had to pick her brain a little about some of her own inspirations.

Your favorite photographer from back in the old days?
I find inspiration in so many. Paul Stand is one who still inspires me with his numerous genres and forward thinking. I enjoy Elliot Erwitt’s humor. I admire Irving Penn and Arnold Newman for their expressive and thoughtful portraits. Duane Michaels deeply inspired me in college with his movement and documentation photographs.

Your favorite current photographer?
Again – I don’t have just one. Susan Kae Grant and Beau Comeaux have some beautiful work . I admire Keith Carter for his dream-like imagery. Sacha Goldberger – who did a fabulous series on his 91-year-old grandma being a super hero, makes me laugh.

Best advice when raising boys?
Teach them to be kind, thoughtful, loving and accepting of all. Help them to understand that you define yourself – don’t let others define you. Follow your dreams, because that is what will make your heart happy. Living by example is better than living with words. It doesn’t hurt to bake homemade cookies and add in some tacky “boy” humor once in a while.

Favorite art-related thing to do in Dallas?
Besides going out and photographing random things, it would have to be seeing what other artists are doing. Gallery night or Dallas Arts District first Saturday of the month.

Best book?
On Photography by Susan Sontag. It’s one of those books of which I have a few copies laying around. I pick one up and read it when I just want to read a few pages to help me re-examine what I’ve done and where I am going.

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