We [Are] Out Here: Blacks Making History
We [Are] Out Here (Pronounced: We Out Here) is a portrait series in celebration of the black people who are actively involved in their various communities today. While honoring the past, and looking towards the future, I am finding great pride and joy in learning about and spending time with people who are out here doing the work to shine more light into this world.
Blue is not my favorite color
What is something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t because of some aspect, or intersection, of your identities? I spend time with people, ask them this question, and then we talk about it. After that, I try to connect them with someone who can help make that dream a reality, document the process, and culminate with a portrait of that person doing the thing they were never sure they’d be able to do.
Peace by Piece
I send people journal and ask them to journal in whatever way makes sense to them for 30 days. Then I send them an envelope to mail it back, photograph each page, and then send that journal (along with a blank one) to another participant and ask them to respond to somebody else’s entries for 30 days. Then they send both back. The idea is to withhold judgement of a person until we have the chance to experience what they are willing to share.
Yes, it’s true and problematic. Almost all Fortune 100 CEOs are white, male, and around 57 years of age. It’s also problematic to describe the group as homogeneous, as it dismisses the individuality of the person. There are major problems that are caused when there is a lack of representation AND there are major problems when people who share similar characteristics are labeled as the same. Not all inmates, rich people, poor people, gay people, black people, etc. are the same. The purpose of this project is to promote a more nuanced conversation between and among people.
“Where do you find inspiration for your projects?” Personally, I’m inspired by the people, places, organic and inorganic matter, and occurrences I experience all around me all the time. The sense of wonder and curiosity never cease in me—constantly amazed by the people who express who they are and want to be, in a variety of ways, despite the pressure to conform. With this project I turned this question around and recorded their responses on video.
From The Streets
In 2013 I began working with a homeless youth work program that creates zines. The idea was that I would crete portraits they could use for their projects. Instead became friends and co-designed an exhibition where the youth would be both the artists and curators—for them to author their own narratives from their own perspectives. One of the young men said to me, “I hate the term homeless. It’s not accurate. I’m not homeless. I have friends, family, a job…I don’t have a house. I’m houseless. Not homeless.”