Ahndraya Parlato was born in Kailua, Hawaii. She has a B.A. in photography from Bard College and an MFA from California College of the Arts. Her collaboration with Gregory Halpern, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, was recently published a book with Études Books, and her first monograph, A Spectacle and Nothing Strange was published by Kehrer Verlag in 2016. In 2013, Ahndraya was a New York Foundation for the Arts grant recipient, Magenta Foundation Emerging Photographer Award winner and was also shortlisted for the MACK First Book Award. She has also been a Light Work grant recipient, and was a nominee for the Paul Huff Award from the FOAM Museum in Amsterdam, as well as the SECCA Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2008, she created and curated Art for Obama, a fundraiser that included the work of over sixty photographers, including Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, Katy Grannan, Richard Misrach, Larry Sultan, and Wolfgang Tillmans.
Irrational images flash through our minds all the time, in dreams and daydreams. Ahndraya Parlato's work imagines an oscillation between these “internal” and “external” images, revealing the possibilities of different realities. Combining ten years’ worth of images, A Spectacle and Nothing Strange draws on Parlato’s experience being raised by a single mother who was mentally ill. From and early age, Parlato was put in the unique position of having to decide whether her mother's observations and fears were real or imagined. These photographs allow her to move between various realities, acknowledging the validity of her mother's world, while also questioning the boundaries of normal, abnormal, sane, and insane.