Summer was already over, but the temperature still felt humid and warm for a September.

As I sat at the patio at Cha Cha Matcha, fashionistas dressed to the nines wore nothing but jeans and sandals. Not a single catwalk-inspired outfit entered the periphery of my eyes. Hoisting a cup of iced matcha to my lips, the green liquid immediately cooled my throat. Then, a young brunette woman in a pair of black lens sunglasses, graphic tee and jeans sat next to me. In place of jewelry, she had a sprawl of tattoos etched on her body. When we greeted each other, I remembered that she was no other than Bianca Gerasia.

Born and raised in New York, Gerasia was born with the eye to capture fleeting, yet uncanny moments. A nude Barbie doll was encased inside a glass jar in the shape of a head; a woman's lips were coated with gobs of gold glitter; a heavily tattooed man gazed to the side. Shot in black and white, and at times color, Gerasia's photographs evoked Sally Mann's emotional depth. Although her work felt very contemporary, it also reminded me so much of the mid-century vintage photographs you find at flea markets.

Due to her uncanny ability to make the modern era appear like another snapshot of a bygone era, it was no secret that New York's most influential Guy Hepner Gallery chose Gerasia's work to be exhibited in a group show.

In an exclusive debut interview, the art school dropout and I chat about photography, Barbie dolls and the origins of The Glass Camera.

Mountain View

You don't call yourself a photographer, but you focus on photography. Why do you not call yourself a photographer and how did you become interested in the craft?

Well, I don't call myself a photographer because I never studied it in school. It's all self-taught. If you were to ask me to teach me the mechanics of a camera, I could not do it [laughs]. I do it because the camera helps me capture the image. If I were to label myself an artist, what does that mean, you know? I fell into it by accidentally.

I was originally a dancer for 16 years, then I got injured and decided that's not what I want to do anymore. After that, I started hanging with the film kids I went to high school with and I started to like photography a little more and more each day. Before I knew it, I was in LA, some random model I soon became roommates with and she said, "those pictures look really, really good!" I was like, "yeah, really?" She was like, "yeah, let's do some more shoots!" It kept on piling up. Long story short, I refer myself as an artist more so because it's all about the actual event of the photoshoot, imaging things in your mind and seeing where it begins.

Speaking of your photography style and aesthetic, who are your role models?

I don't that have that many photographer role models to say. I mean, I love the work of Sally Mann and her stuff is classic and really beautiful. She's kind of a big inspiration. I love Jesse Frohman. He photographed Kurt Cobain in the mix-match outfit with the leopard jacket. His works inspire me. Really, I think that everybody in general because like someone is looking at the street and people watching.


That's really cool, though! How did you learn of these artists?

Sally Mann, I watched a documentary when I was in college and I fell in love with her stuff. Jesse Frohman... I am a big fan of Kurt Cobain. So, I loved all his images and I found him through that.

You were born and raised in NYC, then you moved to LA, where the art scene is emerging. Were there any differences between the art scenes in NYC and LA?

Yes, for sure. It was a culture shock for me because in New York, everything is so structured... and you're not taught to go beyond a certain point. I feel like it's up to here. When I moved to L.A., everything was like explore and be yourself, like, keep going. It was interesting! I felt like it was this old revolution of art for me personally. To this day, I'm still creating and learning new things about myself. I think L.A. is a little more free-spirited and open-minded a lot more [laughs]. But, everyone's there to help each other. It's all about working together and not necessarily looking at yourself as the only artist because I learned from who I collaborate with. Collaborations are the best thing ever and it helps you grow.


Your photographs concentrate on people and from what I can sense, you tend to build on emotions and actions. Why is it important to capture emotions and actions?

I think that it's important because it brings a subject to the picture, especially being somebody that doesn't like to write descriptions about my pictures. I really don't know what to write a lot of the time. It's on my head like, "do this". Like, something happened by accident when I capture it. But, it's kinda funny because I always used to say, "I'm never going to be one of those people that photographs of people all the time. It's so boring!" and now, it's all I do! But, I realize that it's more than that because it's just the emotions have so much to say about a person and the event that is happening. It can mean anything.

For sure, definitely! It's always open-ended. There's no closed caption. At times, you do still lifes with Barbie dolls and you put them in situations like having them being trapped in a jar. You also put in fun captions like "L.A. Barbie" or "rough night" that do seem to hint at a story. What is the concept behind the Barbie dolls?

[Laughs] It's actually really, really random. The Barbie dolls came about because I'm working with a non-profit organization called Dream Believe Kids in San Luis Obispo and it's supposed to represent all the lost kids in the town. Me and my friend went to thrift stores and bought out all the Barbie dolls we found. We had a whole room full of Barbies. I was like, "Wow! I feel like a little kid again!" So, why not take advantage and use this for a shoot?

Barbie dolls, there's this whole thing going on about them now. They apparently say that the traditional Barbie was causing little girls to have issues and judge themselves image-wise, but it's changing now. Why don't we make this fun and the Barbie dolls my models since I didn't have models around me at the time. I did whatever and I flipped her outside down. So, it happened and I don't know... my work is in the moment and it just happens.


You have a set of glitter collages where you put it on the bodies of people. Is there a special technique that you use to achieve this effect? And I noticed that you mainly use gold. How did you come up with this idea?

The idea was inspired by a variety of things. I'm always exploring my Insta and looking at work from other artists to see what's trending and how other minds work. I noticed people were replacing parts of the body with different patterns and art. I was in love with it and wanted to do something similar. I felt the need to explore my own art abilities and see how I could challenge myself.

I started thinking about it so much to where I told myself to stop because it felt forced upon. Then, one day, I was going through some old Glamour magazines and I saw some pictures that looked really cool as a whole but wanted to add some flair to them. So, I thought it'd be cool to glitter them. I literally took a bottle of glitter and poured it on top of the faces of the models.

Immediately, I fell in love but wasn't sure if it looked cool or not. I wanted to experiment more which is when I took a picture of a pile of gold glitter and started using it on all my old photos that I have taken in the past. It made me realize that I could remodel old work. It was like recycling my own art and going shopping in my own closet sort of feeling. I could have used any picture of glitter but I wanted each piece of the picture to be mine, which is why I took my own picture of the glitter. I decided to stick with that single image of gold glitter and use it for a series of shots. All of my gold glittered faces and bodies are done through Photoshop.


I've noticed that the majority of photographers in L.A. don't alternate between color and black and white. When you change the value of a photo, there is a different vibe between a color and a B&W. When did you start experimenting with black and white?

I've taken black and white pictures however long since I have a camera. It's not something that I focus on. When I first started thinking about photography as this profession seriously, debating do I want to have a specific style, do I want to do a black and white only, do I want just color? Do I want it like every other picture? I keep on flip-flopping because me as a person, I am so inconsistent. Well, I'm going to try everything because I don't want to limit myself to anything. I try a lot of black and white since it's so classic and one of my favorites.

It's good that you don't limit yourself to a box and that's what I love about your work so much.

Thank you!


You're welcome. Lastly, let's talk about the name, The Glass Camera. How did you come up with that name and what does it mean?

[Laughs] It's kind of a funny story in a way, but not really. I started The Glass Camera a year-and-a-half ago. That's when I was like: "Oh, I would open up an Instagram and post professional pictures how many times a day I want and not be annoying. Nobody knows it's me." So, I just...I don't know how. When I was younger, I always wanted to write a book. I wanted to title it, The Glass Doorknob, why? I had no idea. And then I was thinking of an Instagram name, "The Glass Camera". You can see through it or something.

I put it out there, this is temporary and I'll change it. I started blowing up out from nowhere. I guess I kinda have to keep it now because people like it, but I laugh at it because it's a joke to me. After I thought about it some more, there's a lot of different reasons behind it. I am kind of obsessed with glass since it's transparent. It's all about transitioning, which glass isn't technically. It's the transformation creating one eye to another. It's a looking glass, like my portal.

You can view more of Bianca's work by heading here.