Lenscratch images journal has named mk, a photography pupil at The College of New Mexico, as a single of its 2021 26 to Check out.

“We required to shine a light on 26 photographers that you should have (and keep) on your radar, artists who might be at the commencing of their pictures journey but are previously operating at an elevated degree, developing get the job done that is deeply significant, particularly in a time when adjust is essential,” stated Aline Smithson, founder of Lenscratch, a images journal that celebrates various present-day photographers.

mk is currently in their remaining semester of an MFA degree in Studio Art with a focus in Images. They are initially from the tiny rural town of Sulligent, Alabama. Contacting the town “a driving pressure for the greater part of their perform,” mk said they have “expanded on the idea of residence encompassing position, relatives, and self.”


“UNM has aided me figure out how to be much more self-ample as an artist.”


mk, UNM photography university student


Using uncovered items, stories, and the longing to be again in their smaller town, mk “investigates coping mechanisms via the operate of photographic memory,” working in a selection of mediums ranging from pictures, printmaking, and sculpture to go after and problem their upbringing, id, loved ones, and the conditions of loss and memory.


Lenscratch highlights mk’s To Fix Broken Pores and skin, a “photographic investigation of generational entire body trauma, memory, and romantic relationship within just a black queer physique.”

“Evoking a perception of dissociation, with this entire body of perform I use myself and others around me to discover the act of opening up and the simultaneous feeling of desire and reluctance that comes with that method. Interrogating the origins of disgrace, regret, and uncertainty, my investigation interweaves the self and the boundaries of relationships platonic, passionate, and all the types in in between. Asexual by private orientation, lesbian by societies warrants, my use of self-portraits convolute the landscape, challenging the sights of intercourse, transitions, and bodily integrity,” mk explained.

“While I would not automatically label myself as a photographer I will have to say that the times in between every single other, the words and phrases we discuss into existence and how I have tried to navigate my space in this world are the ‘what.’  It is essentially pretty simple, and it happens extremely slowly.”

mk names Clarissa Sligh and Rotimi Fani Kayode as two of their biggest “who” influences.

“I have referenced again to their function for numerous many years now, and last year I was lastly ready to see Kayode’s do the job in human being. It was really a desire arrive accurate.”

On staying chosen as a person of Lenscratch’s 26 young photographers to watch, mk mentioned, “It felt wonderful and really validating. That collection of perform titled To Repair service Damaged Pores and skin is something I’ve been generating for lots of decades now, and it was being set up locally at [Albuquerque gallery] Trapdoor Assignments before this 12 months.”

Heartbreakingly though, the clearly show was canceled due to arson.

“I misplaced all of the function that was put in. I went through a time period of experience fewer than because of this. Following some time I resolved to begin making use of to matters with the function and Lenscratch including it in the 26 photographers to watch was exceptionally stunning. It is weird to come to feel so down or have feelings of your work not currently being value it, just to see that other individuals find it fascinating ample to share. I’m seriously glad that I submitted the work and the jurors bundled it in this year’s collection!”

“UNM has served me figure out how to be much more self-ample as an artist,” mk noted. “Coming from a additional group-centered undergraduate study course load to an individualized method has forced me to determine out what decisions I require to make that reward me the most, and also helped me determine my boundaries amongst artwork and daily life.”

When questioned about a favorite or influential professor, mk said, “It’s so challenging to decide on who is the most effective that it basically can’t be performed. I’ve been helped and supported by so numerous folks in the Department of Artwork and Art Background, as effectively as individuals from Africana Scientific tests. To be wholly sincere I would not have been capable to achieve all the matters I have devoid of this process and network of people, but I will say that my graduate committee, which consists of Jim Stone, Kirsten Pai Buick, Szu-Han Ho, and Natasha Howard, alongside my graduate adviser Kat Heatherington, have been some of the most influential during all of the really hard moments. They all tend to know when to press, and most of the time they say the terms I will need to listen to in buy to move forward.”

Their get the job done has been featured at UNM, Web site Santa Fe and the Nationwide Hispanic Cultural Heart, like Mainly because It’s Time in 2018 and The Perspective Inside of a Casket. Their MFA thesis exhibition was at the Sanitary Tortilla Factory studio in Albuquerque past 12 months. mk’s get the job done highlighted on Lenscratch is also remaining mounted for a team exhibit with other prior MFA grads titled Bodies for Scale in Charlotte, NC, at Goodyear Arts until finally Aug. 13, 2021.

The UNM Pictures software was rated 8th in pictures by U.S. Information & Environment Report in 2020 between Most effective Grad Colleges.