The result was Hazen’s latest photo exhibit, “Perfectly Imperfect,” an exploration into Hazen’s personal feelings about feminine beauty and identity.
“My answer was that I felt that I was ‘perfectly imperfect,’ because beauty comes from within,” Hazen says. “I feel that beauty is far more complicated than our physical selves, but rather includes our mental, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social selves as well. This is what I wanted to capture in photographs of women--their inner beauty emerging out of their physical body. The strata of light in these silhouettes are a metaphor for the ephemeral layers and illusions of what we look like and what we imagine, or wish we looked like. Beauty is a personal and private journey for every woman to learn to live in her own skin, letting social expectations fall away, allowing her own sense of beauty and individuality to emerge.”
Hazen is exhibiting her “Perfectly Imperfect” work at the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center throughout May, including both the opening weekend of Marin Open Studios (May 2-3) and the First Tuesday Artwalk (May 5).
The Blithedale Canyon resident is in the midst of a second life of sorts in photography. She first picked it up in 2002, but camera-wielding often took a back seat over the next decade as Hazen, a former pastry chef at Postrio who trained at the California Culinary Academy, raised three kids and tried to launch her own retail business. In early 2008, she launched Sables Gourmet Cookie Dough, selling high-quality pre-packaged cookie dough in dozens of stores like Whole Foods and Mollie Stone's.
Hazen closed Sables in 2010 and found herself immediately drawn back to photography.
In an effort to push herself to take photography more seriously, Hazen entered the 2010 Click Off, the Art Commission-sponsored photo competition. She garnered the top prize in the Dark Side of Mill Valley category and, perhaps even more importantly, connected with Stuart Schartz at The Image Flow, which specializes in helping budding photographers create exhibit-quality prints and mastering digital photography tools.
"They've given me advice all the way along," Hazen says.
In early 2011, Hazen spent time along upper Grant Avenue in San Francisco's North Beach, particularly around Caffé Trieste, the longtime gathering spot for artists, poets, musicians and Beat Generation aficionados.
The resulting collection of photos is also part of the work Hagen will be showing at the Chamber in May.
The 411: Barbara Hazen’s work will be on display May 2-3 from 10am-6pm, and then Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-4pm, at the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center at 85 Throckmorton Avenue. As part of the First Tuesday Artwalk, Hazen’s work will be the focus of a wine reception at the Chamber on Tuesday, May from 6-8pm.