Marilyn Rondon, a multidisciplinary artist based in Miami, wants you to get the feel of her work — and wants it to last.
The 29-year-old has transformed her latest exhibition, "Now and Forever," into a photo book of the same name. On display at Wynwood's SWGR Gallery, the show features imagery documenting her life in her 20s — from the most difficult and darkest years to the best and most beautiful places and things she's experienced. By exposing herself, she hopes to evoke authentic and raw emotion from her audience.
"Photography is very visceral," Rondon says. "My work is meant for people to feel whatever they want to feel — or to make them think of moments in their own lives and make them feel human."
Rondon began with more than 400 photos and whittled them down to the 98 that are featured at SWGR. She reduced the number further for her 48-page book. "The images I chose are really brutally honest," she explains. "It's also pretty porny. But I don't view it as porn. Bodies should be viewed as normal, and it's horrible that society makes us feel that we need to hide ourselves."
The book has no text, but the photos say it all. Every image was shot using a disposable camera with 35mm and slide film. Rondon believes it adds to the rawness she tries to evoke. "[The photos] really show what it's like to be in your 20s; it's a combination of the best and worst times."
Once she created the exhibit for SWGR in January, Rondon knew she wanted to turn it into a book.
"I don't like doing things the traditional way. Books last longer. It'll be like a coffee table book, and hopefully more people will be able to see it and relate to it. It's also easier to tell a story when you see it page after page."
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Ever since she was eight years old, Rondon has been taking photos. She practices various art forms, including painting, drawing, and sculpture, but has remained fascinated by photography. "Realizing you can put your memory onto paper is what really set me into shooting photos throughout my life... But before this, I've never really sold prints or anything."
Now and Forever is Rondon's first book, but she says it won't be her last. "I've always wanted to make books," she says. "It's such a nice and affordable way to share work. Some of my favorite artists, I can't own their work, but I can get their work in a book or on a postcard, which is cool."
Rondon is printing only 100 copies of the book, making it an exclusive affair. "If I have any left over, maybe I'll sell them online, but I like the idea of making limited editions. It's more intimate that way. Whoever gets it, gets it."
Marilyn Rondon's Now and Forever
Released Februrary 8 at the closing reception of her exhibit and will be available for purchase at SWGR Gallery (2235 NW Second Ave., Miami) for $25 to $30.