Kelly Rakowski (Curator of @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y)

Photos by Natalee Ranii-Dropcho

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Tell us about the concept of @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y.

Herstory is a collection of images of lesbian culture from early 1800s to late 1990s, currently living on Instagram.

What first inspired you to start @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y?

It was first inspired by the wealth of images found on the Lesbian Herstory Archives’ (based in Park Slope, Brooklyn) online digital collection, but grew to include images from other online archives, personal photographs and ephemera, submissions and pop culture references.
Kelly_Pair3

I see that you work widely as a photo editor and book designer, where did you develop your artistic skills? Did you study art in school or are you self taught?

I currently work as a photo editor for a design and architecture magazine. Before then I was a graphic designer, designing art books for Todd Oldham studio. I studied graphic design in art school but was always interested in textiles and image research. Todd always encouraged me to develop my own projects and I started weaving while working there.

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Tell us about your process, how do you do your research behind those Instagram posts?

I sit down at my computer and start googling, I might have read something I want to know more about or just google at random. This may lead me to a personal blog, or an image archive. It’s about digging and editing and presenting. I try to find the most information possible, date, photographer, context.

Kelly_Pair2

Can you tell us about some project(s) you are currently working on?

I have an ongoing textile project (New Friends) with Alexandra Segreti. I’m working on developing Herstory in other ways, it’s a work in progress. I also am working again with Rachel Berks/Otherwild to create new products inspired by Herstory finds. We’re planning to launch new goods this Spring.

Is there anything new you’re looking forward to getting started?

Yes. I’d like to make a website and space for Herstory to live beyond Instagram. I’d like to it be a resource for books to read, movies to watch, personal ads maybe…

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@h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y

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