Issue 102

Small Talk is a photography collective comprised of seven women living and creating in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2015 at the initiative of Kristina Hruska, the group has grown from a concept to a community, to a sisterhood - and we feel like the conversation is just getting started.

As a group, we are interested in exploring the nature of what it means to be a visual storyteller. In practical terms, we provide support, exchange ideas, critique work, and pool our resources. We each bring a unique approach to our photography, from still life images that catalog mundane moments, to haunted spaces, moody interiors, landscapes from Oregon to Italy, or self-portraits exploring relationships, solitude, and psychology. We engage in the best kind of small talk, the kind that binds us together, challenges us in our personal and professional lives, fosters stronger work, and facilitates collaboration.

Looking forward, we are excited for two upcoming group shows in 2018, the publication of our first book, and an ongoing collaborative project called "Conversations."

Visit Small Talk's website to see more work and get in touch with the artists. 



Briana Cerezo is a self taught photographer living in Portland, Oregon. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Sciences and is currently studying shamanism with Lightsong School of 21st Century Shamanism and Energy Medicine in order to more intentionally and comfortably navigate the process of creating photographic work with people in intimate or vulnerable spaces and situations. 

About Briana's work and practice:

I am a photographic artist interested in utilizing the creation of images as access points to conduct personal research on the nature of the human experience. My work explores:

- personal identity and the formation of a sense of self in the context of environment

- intimacy; how people seek to meet their needs and create boundaries within personal relationships, and the cultural conventions that consciously and unconsciously influence these decisions

- the historical and current roles and purposes of ritual and ceremony as they relate acknowledging human experiences, rites of passage, environmental change, and personal transformation



Marico Fayre is a photographic artist whose work explores vulnerability, solitude, mental illness, LGBTQ identity, the search for belonging, and a deep curiosity about dialogue that occurs between making and experiencing art. Marico collaborates with performance artists and writers, weaving together the two voices in order to create projects of depth and strength that one client described as, "doing wild things very quietly." She received a BFA and an MFA in Photography, and currently teachers for the graduate photography program at the Academy of Art University. 


About Marico's work and practice:

I was raised on stories I didn't believe, but wanted to - fairy tales and histories that changed with every retelling. Through empty roads and conversations around kitchen tables, I learned that every moment is both discovery and loss. The facts of our lives become memories that we weave into personal mythology.

My photographs capture the imperfect humanness we shape into identities and connections. They show the cracks in our paste-together jobs along with the celebration, confusion, heartache, and intimacy of our striving. 

Open the box, unlock the wardrobe, look deep into the mirror. Lose your way. Find your strength. 



Leslie Hickey lives and works in Portland, Oregon. She earned BA degrees in Studio Art and English from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Her photographic work has been exhibited regularly, including a solo show at the Jules Maidoff Gallery at Studio Arts College International in Florence, Italy. In October 2017 she will return to Italy, travelling to Civita di Bagnoregio for a fellowship through The Civita Institute. Her work can be found in the forthcoming edition of Big Big Wednesday and at Essentialist, an online magazine. She is a founding member of Small Talk and also SCALENO, an international photographic collective. Leslie is also proprietor of a letterpress, Hoarfrost Press.


About Leslie's work and practice:

I am interested in the idea that photographs can stand in for verbs, nouns, and articles; that a personal lexicon can be constructed from objects and places found in the world. These photographs are a beginning; they make up a guide, composed of the signs and symbols that represent the vocabulary I am building, a visual manifesto of sorts. 



Kristina Hruska, the founder of Small Talk Collective, is a photographic artist and gallery director living in Portland, Oregon. Originally from Sheridan, Wyoming, she studied photography at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana, and earned a degree from Portland State University studying Sociology and Criminology. Kristina has worked as the Education Director at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR, Photo Workshops Director at Rocky Mountaing School of Photography in Missoula, MT, and as an Editor for Diffusion: Unconventional Photography Magazine. Currently, she is the Gallery and Communications Director for Pushdot Studio in Portland. 


About Kristina's work and practice:

My work often explores themes of mystery and resilience and examines the intersection between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

In the fall of 2015, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Emergence became its documentation as I grappled with the healing process. The work is an outward expression of the mysteries and complexities of brain healing and the brain's use of art as a language to represent the healing process, as well as a conduit of the healing process itself.



Audra Osborne is a photographer and crafter living in Portland, Oregon. After growing up in South Florida, she attended the Savannah College of Art and Design where she earned a BFA in Photography in 2011. After graduation, she and her now husband piled their three cats in a car and made the cross-country trek to Portland. She currently works for Photolucida as the Program Manager and owns a small photobooth business called Party Cat.


About Audra's work and practice:

My work stems from the often debilitating emotions that I (and many people) feel on a daily basis. These ideas typically center around anxiety, depression, and loss. My photographs act as a visual diary and study of these emotions, as well as a remedy. By creating these images I create a space for myself and others to discuss these topics, which are often considered taboo, on an open platform. This self-enforced openness has allowed me to become more in control of my anxiety, beyond symptoms and treatments. 



Kelli Pennington is a photographer and educator living in Portland, Oregon. She teaches Photography at Portland Community College, additionally she works as a freelance photographer. She earned her MFA from Syracuse University in 2010. Child Free by Choice, Kelli is an avid traveler, gardener and reader. Over the course of the last year she learned to paraglide and now holds a P2 rating. On two separate occasions, May and June of 2017, she flew over 2 roosting bald eagles while flying at Cape Lookout, Oregon. 


About Kelli's work and practice:

Over the past 14 years I have captured the fleeting moments of my life, revealing my most intimate experiences, and allowing my work to revolve around my relationships, surroundings and perceptions. Liminal explores the seasonal passing of time and aging, while crafting a view of an examined life. 



Jennifer Timmer Trail received her MFA in Photography from Hartford Art School and her BA in Art History and Studio Art from Michigan State University. A northern-Michigander at heart, Jennifer spent a decade in New York, and some time in Copenhagen and Victoria, British Columbia, before recently settling in Portland, Oregon where she is an instructor of photography and design, a freelance book designer, and a mom. Her photography has been written about and exhibited internationally, and her curatorial endeavors have been reviewed in The New York Times. 


About Jennifer's work and practice:

My photographs explore the longings that exist within relationships, things we wish we could hold on to but can't, and the nostalgia that accompanies the process of aging. I am most interested in exploring and pushing the boundaries of what a photograph can communicate on an emotional and psychological level.

This work is part of a larger project titled Cassiopeia A, named after the supernova remnant in the constellation Cassiopeia (the Queen). A supernova is the explosion that occurs at the end of a massive star's life; and Cassiopeia A is the expanding shell of material that remains - more beautiful and permanent than what once was. Modelled after this example, the work is an examination of the numerous tiny physical and emotional "deaths" we endure in our lifetimes. It's about time in between an ending and a new beginning.