As a Queens, NY native I have always been surrounded by people of all kinds and, from a young age I was particularly interested in creating portraits. I started my film photography journey at the international center of photography at 13 and instantly fell in love with the process from start to finish, which influences my work in many ways. Film taught me, in a digital age, to slow down and sit with my art in every step of the process. I went to an amazing but predominantly white college, SCAD, which helped me to discover the most important aspect to my work is the representation of Black people. By exploring the multidimensionality of blackness, I am discovering myself.
My work is driven by the notion that blackness is non-monolithic. Growing up, I would see the same archetypes of blackness portrayed in the media, contrary to the examples around me in my day-to-day life. I imagine a world where blackness is documented as multi-dimensional. In my images, I feel it necessary to visualize black people as dynamic, soft, free, and unapologetic. I use a mixture of portraiture, documentary, and fashion photography as tools to express these ideas. As an image maker, I aim to create a truer, more nuanced catalog of the black identity.
Inspired by love, I choose to communicate to the world by showing the most intimate parts of myself through my subjects’ reflections. With my community’s continuous support and guidance from my ancestors, I am on a constant journey of rediscovery. Unbeknownst to me, my work has become the breadcrumbs of my life story, depicted through reflections of people, documenting moments of stillness, and finding my way back to myself. Photography has soothed and healed me through movement and celebration of self and community. As I evolve, how I communicate with the world will change, be guided by light, and will always be rooted in love.
The news coming out of Bed-Stuy in the mass media during the 80s and 90s did not fully reflect what I saw in my community. There was joy, love, success, family units, traditions, history, milestones, etc. but the world didn’t know that. My street and documentary photography elevates Blackness. It adds to the ever-growing collection of images made by other descendants of the diaspora that continually shows love to all Black people and aims to be a guide of how to get it right for future storytellers of similar backgrounds.
Founded by Polly Irungu, and launched in July of 2020, Black Women Photographers (BWP) is a global community, directory, and hub of over 1,500 Black women and non-binary identifying photographers, spanning over 60 countries and 35+ U.S. states. To date, BWP has provided over $115,000 in financial grants to Black creatives.