Carrie Mae Weems (American, b.1953), born in Portland, OR, is a Contemporary photographer. She earned a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1981 and an MFA in Photography from the University of California, San Diego in 1984. From 1984 until 1987, Weems studied folklore at the University of California, Berkeley. She is best known for creating installations using photographs, text, captions, and audio recordings. Weems' work often confronts viewers with the issues of racism, identity, and gender and frequently explores these themes through the lenses of both personal and national history. Her first major work, Family Pictures and Stories (1978–1984), is a family photo album comprised of images integrated with text and interviews. Weems cites Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston as writers who had a significant impact on her interests and artistic style. In 1993, Weems created Africa Series after her first visit to Africa, and combined photographs of African architectural structures with a story describing the origins of life. Weems' work is included in many prestigious public collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo in Sevilla, Spain, among many others. She currently lives and works in upstate New York.