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In Seeing Differently, Laura Paresky Gould Captures Joy With Minimalist Photography

In 2021, Laura Paresky Gould started to capture the city where she'd lived for a few decades with a new perspective.
Laura Paresky Gould has compiled her minimal photography in the book Seeing Differently: Miami Color Theory.
Laura Paresky Gould has compiled her minimal photography in the book Seeing Differently: Miami Color Theory. Laura Paresky Gould photo
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After the pandemic-caused lockdowns, photographer Laura Paresky Gould says she felt visually starved. She ventured outside, where the colors were bright and abundant, and it was safe to wander freely without confronting anyone else's breath.

"I started to shoot Miami like it was a flea market of color," she tells New Times.

She started to capture the city where she'd lived for a few decades with a new perspective. The minimalist photography shot on her iPhone became part of a larger series of projects that educate, enrich, and showcase the unique shades and shapes of South Florida in a way that enraptures audiences.

Her Instagram account, @miamicolortheory, has accrued 11,000 followers since its inception in 2021 and was awarded "Best Instagram" by New Times in 2022. It blossomed into zines' videos on the Bass' YouTube channel; the book Seeing Differently: Miami Color Theory, published by Tra Publishing; and now her fourth show during Miami Art Week — this time as a No Vacancy resident at the Royal Palm South Beach. Paresky Gould will discuss her book with the Bass' curator, James Voorhies, at Books & Books in Coral Gables on Thursday, November 30.

She decided to roll out her work on social media once Adobe Flash, where her work previously lived online, was taken down in 2020. She started by posting one image a day. Within six weeks, the Italian magazine Frizzifrizzi featured a well-researched article about her work. Soon after, she hashtagged #shotoniphone, and Apple started to post her work, quickly expanding her presence.

"I felt like I was back in the whole world again," she says of the experience.
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Laura Paresky Gould has been capturing Miami's bright colors on her Instagram account, @miamicolortheory, since 2021.
Photo by Laura Paresky Gould
A Boston native, Paresky Gould started shooting minimalist photography while studying art and art history at Duke University. She received her master's in teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design. That led her into the world of animation in Los Angeles, where she designed logos for companies like NBC, Nike, and E!. In the 1990s, she moved to Miami and became the design director at Ocean Drive magazine. She soon started her design firm, met her husband, and had three children.

"I always knew I was going to go back to my own work; I just didn't know how," she reflects. She found her inspiration in the colors that pop in the subtropical sunshine. "Part of what I think is so beautiful is the light in Miami, and then on top of that, we have pink and yellow and purple buildings." She learned a lot about the muralists who decorate the city and architects who shape the area landscape, like Arquitectonica and Shulman + Associates. It gave her a better sense of the community through design.

She was also inspired by the work of Ingrid Fetell Lee, who wrote Joyful, a book about how design and color can bring us joy. She wanted to let others, especially kids, feel empowered to capture and share that feeling for themselves through minimalist photography.

She reached out to the Bass' director of education, Kylee Crook, to work on furthering the idea for her book and shape the accompanying video series, "Seeing Differently." It helps people develop a way of seeing the world around them differently, explore mindful meditation, and capture their perspective with their phone cameras.
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Laura Paresky Gould's photos are on display at the Royal Palm South Beach as part of the No Vacancy series.
Laura Paresky Gould photo
Crook says the book and videos are approachable for people at all skill levels. "The photographs are very appealing and catch your attention, and then you find extremely user-friendly resources for people to experiment on their own," Crook observes. "I appreciate that the goal is not merely to educate about photography; it's to inspire a thoughtful way of perceiving the world that is not daunting but welcoming and enriching."

Paresky Gould says it's also noticing the world around us in our everyday lives and deriving joy from it. "When you start looking for beauty, you find it," she says.

Three installations that lay out the ideas behind Seeing Differently will be on display at the Royal Palm South Beach through Thursday, December 14. She was selected to be part of the No Vacancy exhibition, which picks 12 artists and pairs them with 12 area hotels to create custom installations for the public during Miami Art Week. The show brings elements of her book and makes them interactive by including photographic works, videos, and a station that allows viewers to explore mindful meditation.

Seeing Differently: Miami Color Theory. By Laura Paresky Gould. Tra Publishing. 2023. 172 pages. Hardcover, $40.

An Evening With Laura Paresky Gould and James Voorhies. 7 p.m. Thursday, November 30, at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 305-442-4408; booksandbooks.com. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.

No Vacancy: Miami Color Theory. On view through Thursday, December 14, at Royal Palm South Beach, 1545 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; mbartsandculture.org/no-vacancy.
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