Mastermind 2012 Honorable Mention: Jayme Gershen

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Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. This year, we received more than 150 submissions, which our staff narrowed to an elite group of 30. We'll be profiling our honorable mentions, and eventually the finalists, in the weeks to come. This year's three Mastermind Award winners will be announced March 8 at Artopia, our annual soiree celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit the website.

Jayme Gershen

Gershen's photography is something most would have a good giggle at. Or at least, her most recently completed project makes us giggle. Heck, let's be honest. It made us guffaw.

The Massachusetts native-turned-Miamian has stretched her lens to the far corners of the artist's sandbox. Her most recently completed photographic series, called "Yearbook," portrays stereotypical American high school identities. The coolest part about it is that she's portraying them -- all of them. She's the grumpy bus driver, the high school sweetheart, the class slut, the pot head, the creepy janitor, and so on. She even made identity replica bobble heads for each of her characters... who does that?!

Gershen's "multiple personalities as art" approach to her craft isn't the only wacky thing about her. At her website, the first line in her bio states, "Jayme Gershen started making photographs early on, generally decapitating her subjects." Now, decapitating is a strong word. No, Jayme didn't do the French revolution thing. She didn't show their heads because she didn't know the first thing about how to picture a face.

People who know Jayme still ponder why she has a Latin accent when she's of Polish and Lithuanian descent. Go figure -- she learned Spanish from the cafeteria ladies at Miami International University.

Gershen's currently working on a project called "The Emigrant Immigrant" which she's pitching to explore and expand the concepts of immigrant identity. In layman's terms, she's using photography, videography, and interviews to show us uncultured folk the stories of emigrated immigrants. We absorb better through visuals, anyway.

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