Rose Marasco in her own words

This article was originally published by the Portland Museum of Art Blog on April 28, 2015 and was written by Jessica May. In this touching episode of The Backstory, photographer Rose Marasco narrates the moments that brought her to Utica, New York in 1988 to photograph the Saint Rosalie Feast—and how that project affected her life and photographic career.

Over the past forty years, Rose Marasco has built a photographic career that offers an extraordinary narrative about the transformative power of art. Rose Marasco: index brings that career together at the Portland Museum of Art in the artist's first-ever retrospective.

The exhibition highlights the vitality, dynamism, and overall spirit of American photography in the post-war period, when artists were turning away from the idea that a single print was the summation of artistic excellence, and instead thinking about how photographs could tell stories—how they could move us, make us think, and appeal to our ideas of what the world could be, as well as what it is.

Marasco is not only one of the finest narrative photographers in the country and beloved artists in Maine, but also an eloquent storyteller in her own right. In preparation for Rose Marasco: index, I sat down with Rose as she walked us through the milestones of her life's work. In this poignant and touching excerpt from those interviews (which became the catalogue Rose Marasco: index, available here), Rose reflects on her Catholic roots and upbringing in Utica, New York, and how the knowledge of oneself as an artist is inextricably tied to the past, as well as one's work.