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Herman Mhire’s recent photographs began as meditations upon the forms, colors, and patterns of marine mollusk exoskeletons found in oceans around the world. As his approach to image making evolved, he altered the forms of the shells and placed them in imaginary environments. Gradually, other forms from nature were introduced including leaves, flowers, and butterflies. A recurring pattern in his work consists of making straightforward photographs of a particular subject (human faces, sea shells, flowers), which inevitably leads to manipulation/alteration of that subject. His training as a painter and print-maker heavily influences his approach to photography.
Herman Mhire was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. He served on the faculty of the Department of Visual Arts and as Director of the Paul & Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana Lafayette where he organized more than 200 exhibitions including traveling exhibitions presented in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In 2005, he was awarded one of France’s highest honors when the Minister of Culture of France named him a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. Trained as a painter and print-maker, Mhire’s 2008 shift to photography resulted in a series titled “Altered States” which was exhibited at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette, LA 2009, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, 2010, Martine Chaisson Gallery, New Orleans, 2011, and Sara Nightingale Gallery, New York, 2011.