I am listening, ready to learn. I am photographing you, and I'll never stop photographing and representing people of color. I will not just stay silent. Rather, taking what I've learned, I'll continue to let your voice be heard by photographing who you are, your beautiful, exquisite existence. It's my way of communicating, doing the work, allowing myself to fade into the background.
State Street is boarded up. If you lean into bias and anger, you'll choose to see the effects of rioting and looting, but when you choose to look a bit deeper, you'll see store-owners (the very ones affected by the damage) celebrating "black lives matter". They are writing it on the boards that conceal broken windows. They are smiling and joyful despite the loss.
This is Linya. I praised the fabric that she used for the woman's skirt, and she said that she found it while thrifting. I told her that my whole outfit was thrifted, and we had a good laugh and conversation. She said she couldn't contribute much, but she could give of her collected supplies (notice the empty toilet roll papers in a heart behind her). I loved her laughter, her smile, her light, her joy. Do these photographs give you any sense of how much light I was experiencing in this moment because of her example? I hope so.
State Street has become an art museum. This is now a part of our cultural heritage. It is now woven into the fabric of our art culture. My heart swelled with emotions. People of color have had such little representation in the United State's art-heritage. I hope that changes.
A work in progress. Do you see how she looks at you?
This is Mahalia. Her name means "tenderness".
May we all see the world with a little more tenderness.