Millee Tibbs

(American, b. 1976; resides in Detroit, MI)

 Millee Tibbs’s photographs often explore different representations of identity. In her series, Proof of Union (2011), Tibbs documents her process of providing photographic “proof” of her relationship with her husband to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for his green card application process in 2005. The USCIS uses this practice to guard against individuals who attempt to use marriage for the sole purpose of gaining citizenship. Understanding the nuances of visual perception, the couple submitted snapshots of their activities together, such as bike riding and vacationing at the beach. Culturally familiar and visually ordinary, the photographs once served as legal evidence of the nature of their relationship while simultaneously revealing the sentimental history between Tibbs and her husband. After separating in 2011, Tibbs physically removed the bodies out of the photographs, attempting to extract the sentiment from the once codified images and leaving behind only a ghostly trace of their relationship.

Millee Tibbs completed a BA in Studio Art and Hispanic Studies at Vassar College(1998) and an MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design ( 2007). Her work is held in the collections of the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; Fidelity Investments Permanent Collection, Providence, Rhode Island; and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence. In addition to numerous awards and grants, Tibbs has completed residencies at the MacDowell Colony (2011) and the Sante Fe Art Institute (2010).