Historical Correction explores a chapter in a long history of exclusion and a way of finding a different perspective in examinging racial injustice.

Inspired by 17th century Dutch painted portraits, this series was created to appear as a found archive embracing diversity with the same strength and confidence as the paintings I had been studying. Art offers the unique position of introducing a new perspective without constraints. From this new perspective we are able to let go of other narratives and perhaps embrace a new dialog.
I grew up in the Civil Rights Era, yet after decades, we are still living with racism…it has just been reformatted. Current times have brought forward an urgent conversation that will require many voices, perspectives and overdue actions we will need to change the arc of history and reconcile the past.

Historical Correction
and Forefathers

both speak to that idea. I am drawn to looking at history from a contemporary point of view, with finding an alternate perspective and a stepping stone to a wider conversation.

Maxine Helfman (1953) began her early career as a commercial photographer.  Her years as both a highly regarded stylist and art director, in this highly competitive field, led to the development of her own unique vision in fine art photography.  Helfman talks about a dramatic shift in her practice, which occurred while working on backdrops for various iconic photo shoots. She began to notice a shift in her vision which drew her away from concerns with peripheral aesthetics and an interest in getting behind the camera to explore her passion for capturing the scene herself through her own artistic lens. 

As the French humanist photographer Cartier-Bresson once said; “The decisive moment is capturing an event that is ephemeral and spontaneous.”

This new found spontaneity offered her an aesthetic  freedom, without limitations, where she could experiment with the dynamism of her subjects placed in tableaus that challenge cultural norms of sex, race, power and gender.



Forefathers, examines the personal practices of our presidents and shines a light on historical realities not often discussed, deepens the converstationon race and inequality through a historical perspective.
I did George Washington in 2014, as I thought he made a powerful statement about presidents who were slave owners—it reminded me of the story of Ona Judge, the runaway slave who was relentlessly pursued by the Washingtons. After I did Washington, I was drawn by the idea that so many presidents—twelve—were slave owners, not only the early Virginia presidents who might have been expected to have slaves, but even Ulysses S. Grant, so I decided to do a series showing all of them. It speaks to the subject of power and illustrates the hypocrisy of “for the people.”
Forefathers” series of portraits of the 12 U.S. presidents who owned slaves. Encased in vintage daguerreotype cases, the leaders’ faces are cut into silhouettes that peel back to reveal African-American faces underneath.

George Washington 

owned approximately 370+ slaves.         –>


James Madison

owned approximately 100 + slaves

John Tyler

owned approximately 70 slaves

William Henry Harrison

owned approximately 11 slaves

Martin van Buren

owned approximately 1 slave

Thomas Jefferson

owned approximately 600 + slaves

Andrew Jackson

owned approximately 200 slaves

Ulysses S Grant

owned approximately 1 slave

James Monroe

owned approximately 75 slaves