A month after Star Montana began her photo project about identity and family, her stepdad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Later, her mom, who had hepatitis C, fell sick and died within three weeks, at 49.
Montana kept taking photos: of her family caring for her stepdad, of herself crying in her bedroom after visiting her mom in the hospital, of her mother’s casket. Four months later, her stepfather also died.
“In LA, no one understood this work. It took artsy-ass people to say, there’s something here,” said Montana, who’s 25 and transferred to the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York the following year.
It’s Saturday night around 9pm, and she’s at the university photo lab. She’s worked one of her three pay-the-rent jobs all day. While she organizes her photos, the computer keeps ejecting her USB drive. It slows down an already long night, but leaves her unfazed to continue working on her photos.
Photos by Star Montana via her website StarMontana.net