This is a weekly series where we feature our incredibly talented Adolescent members and their work! Sign up here to join the Adolescent Membership and be part of the @ family!
This week’s Adolescent Member Crush is Miles Marie, a Detroit-based writer, director, and photographer who also goes by Nomadic Madam. Though Miles only picked up a camera in her mid twenties, she’s already taken on massive photo projects and has been published in publications like Ladygunn and Australian Penthouse. Keep reading to learn why Miles felt compelled to start writing about the female body, what’s unique about her Playboy-esque photo calendar, and how she switches between mediums.
Adolescent Content: What’s the creative scene in Detroit like?
Miles Marie: It’s ever-changing with this renewed interest in the city itself, but it’s quite a beautiful place right now. Because there isn’t a huge commercial market here (besides automotive), people here make art because their hearts don’t know any other way. In that way, Detroit artists are really pure and beautiful. It also means you gotta hustle to get noticed, so you gotta have grit and drive. But the community here is super supportive—you’ve always got a huge network of love to fall onto.
Adolescent: Your site says that “due to circumstance,” you took to writing as an outlet of exploration of the female body. What circumstances resulted in that?
Miles: I would say two forces led me to storytelling. One, being a precocious only child with a single mom and a penchant for the imaginative. Two, being confused and angry about my femmehood. I’ve been catcalled since I was 5, and endured minor inappropriate touching and conversations from men and boys until a full-fledged assault when I was 14. [And I didn’t talk to anyone about it] because of the deep shame that came with physically wanting to explore my sexuality. I was mad, confused, and horny. We had very little money but we had pens and paper, and I had shit to say.
Adolescent: At this point in your life, do you prefer photography over writing?
Miles: I guess I don’t view them as binary. I feel like I’ve just switched the medium from written to visual. Single images are flash fiction, photo essays are short fictional stories, and novellas are the films I get to direct. But photography has changed the way I think day to day. I now see in visions as I go about my day, whereas I used to have an inner narration describing the scenes I would see unfolding. I always want to be behind the camera or editing. It keeps my heart beating, but that being said, I miss the richness of words and diving deeper into characters. So I’m beginning a new chapter of my creative life and shifting my focus to writing and directing. It just seems like the perfect culmination.
Adolescent: Tell me about Harem Club 2019.
Miles: Harem Club 2019 was the hardest and best thing I’ve ever done. At the release party I cried like three times.
It came out of a two-week meditation and intermittent fasting. I’d had a rough outline of the idea for a few years, and I’m obsessed with the idea of keeping art in the novelty forms the digital age has made us forget. I called it Harem Club because this was my way of taking back the tradition of one man being at the head of a collective of women usually serving him as wives, mistresses, or concubines. Instead, I wanted to gather a group of women of all shapes and sizes and champion them. This calendar was not for men, even though I’m sure they enjoyed it—this was for women.
It meant so much to me and my community that I decided to do it again for 2020. Last year’s was raw, natural, and had the traditional Playboy centerfold—this year’s is fun, funky, and psychedelic, with big hair and big makeup. It’ll be launching Sept 28th.
Adolescent: What has drawn you to focus on the female body in your work?
Miles: The only thing I can say for sure is my intuition that if we don’t tell their stories we can’t begin to heal. Our feminist mothers have done a lot of the hard progressive work for us but it’s time to be rebellious, fight through the fear, and be free. Women are wild beings that house the creation of life. We are bound only to ourselves, and it’s time to be proud of all the diverse bodies we are blessed with.