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"We were born for these times." Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I'm Sulfiati Meariam

Is it any wonder that I chose a camera as my life’s companion? After all, I was fortunate enough to have grown up in the arts-saturated city of Pasadena, and the daughter of an artist who saw art as a tool for healing both self and society. 

Adding to that rich soil, I came of age in the golden era of the late Sixties, and participated fully and enthusiastically in that surge of creativity, consciousness and hope for a more just and loving world. In those days, I went by my birth name, Sherrill Lewis, and the photo below was taken at Big Sur, in 1967, on the way home from The Monterey International Pop Festival

 As I have lived the world, and marveled at the banquet of life taking place in its rehearsal halls, on its roads or savannahs, in its wilderness or cultivated gardens, I am often to be found giggling with joy as I am captivated by Life through my lens. The photo to the right shows me being enraptured by the chorus of Tulip Magnolias blossoms bursting with their spring costumes!

Surrendering to the creative process, which amplifies the Divine, has become a humanizing experience, full of grace and answers to the meaning of this life. 

If Life is to be celebrated and Beauty is to be cultivated, I pledge to do my part as devoted as a nun, as free and robust as a whirling gypsey, and as determined as any starving artist or revolutionary.

My art business has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that I stand behind the quality and value of my products.


What does it even mean “to inspire?” “To arouse, motivate, encourage, enthuse or stir” says the Thesaurus. Yes! To take in the breath of life to fan one’s inner flame, I think. If so, then my list is galaxies long. I would have to mention the roses, moons and the sea of my childhood first off. When it comes to human beings, I would start and end with those who saw a glimmer of my flame, or innate gift and reflected it back to me in my own darkness so that I could finally see it myself.            

I was given a small Brownie camera on my tenth birthday by my mother. I have no idea what I shot, I just remember the feeling of holding the small box in my hands and knew that it was the key to something special. As a young girl, I do remember pouring over, “The Family of Man,” a book edited by the pioneer photographer Edward Steichen and the poet Carl Sandburg, a groundbreaking wedding of image and word.  Those images fed something deep within me as I fell into each image over and over again, spreadeagled on the floor, and tried to share it with anyone who mattered to me then.            

 In giving me a Pentax Spotmatic as a college freshman studying Art Hisyory when I started taking photography classes at Pasadena City College, my mother opened a door to my own creative expression, very different from her own, and motivated me to boldly walk through other portals I could never have imagined.             

However, it was the encouragement I received from my mentors at Antioch University Seattle that led me to own for the first time in my life the label/title/curse of being one of the tribe who are forced to claim being an, "Artist."             

Since then, my creativity has been aroused by the attempt to capture nature’s murmurs as I’ve traveled, or flickers of the Truly Human I see in all the arts /Arts, or Life being lived on streets everywhere as I meander unheeded, camera or iPhone in hand. Art is alchemy and for me, the gold is in the sighting, the stirring of editing and now the joy of sharing.            I am immensely grateful for the enthusiasm of strangers who see something of themselves, their dreams, their memories or reflections in my work. It is an honor to hold up a mirror to this marvelous world we share and to celebrate the Beauty and spectacular diversity of Life in all its manifestations.              

My photos are the, “quilts,” I would show up with in times of disaster, or leave behind had I grown up on the American prairie, as opposed to the beaches of Southern California, the streets of San Francisco or the canyons of Hollywood. My arms are full of images that I hope may bring you some solace of Beauty, dignity or glimpses of the great life force that pulses through us all, in spite of or because of our shared disasters. Please accept my offering to you, and let me know what touches you.          


PhotoPlace Gallery’s juried exhibition, “Poetry of the Ordinary”. Juror Henry Horenstein has chosen your image, "Nakawa Market" for exhibition in our Middlebury, Vermont gallery, It will be displayed in the Online Gallery on the PhotoPlace Gallery website.  

In 1968, Stan Boorman had a call-in TV show. He had seen my work, and invited me to come to the show. He is holding up my photo of two toddlers at the First Elysian Park Love-in in 1967. One child is black and appears to be breaking through a fence while a younger, white child looks on. Boorman felt that my photo was emblematic of the Civil Rights Movement that was roiling across America at the time. And, when I look at this photo with it's rotary phone, I'm struck by the small sculpture of a hand displaying what had become the sign for peace in those days. 

 appreciations that make my heart FEEL 

SO VERY full

“I love your pictures! You have such a fabulous life! Or, maybe it’s just that you were so present to all your life experiences? And your narratives – I feel like I’m there! And my son [in his 40’s] says the same thing!”       Liz from Mill Creek, WA                   

“You always took the very nicest photos of me that I ‘ve ever had, and you gave me some of the wisest words I’ve ever received as well, “Always have your picture taken by someone who loves you.” It’s been great life advice for me ever since.” Laura from LA

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