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Free to Be (pt. i)

I adore when Natasha and I get a chance to connect. 

My best work happens when the person I am photographing loves my work, and doesn't judge themselves for being a part of the process. When Natasha and I connect, all we know is that our goal is make dope images! She's not worried about how she looks. It's my job to make sure I capture her beautifully. We're not worried about peoples' judgment of what we create. That's none of our business. 

Today I asked her to bring a couple of outfits that I could shoot her wearing - and barely wearing. We rode around for a bit, looking for a fresh location, and once we found something, we got to work. I tell her what I have in mind. She tells me the options and suggests what she thinks might work. We Go! Because she trusts my work, neither of us have to be insecure about the strange direction I have to give to get what I see in my head. She knows all I want to do is make something amazing that we can share and be proud of.

This is a bit of what we did this July 4th. 

 

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In The Right Direction...

I always know "the next step", that's never been the problem. The difficulty is embracing the direction I need to go. Stepping out a place that is very comfortable (for better or worse), when I only know where I'm placing my next step.

Knowing you're on the right path is a fortunate thing, and I do believe I'm headed in the right direction. But it's a struggle to face my fears. I guess I have to struggle then. There's work to do, and places to go! Everything I want is on the other side of fear. 

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Where Ya Goin' ?

Truth is, we usually don't know where people have been,
or where they're going.

Reset.

This is one of my favorite young people on the planet. I've known Daveed for just over 9 years now, and it has been great watching him grow up.

Sometimes a young man needs to experience some new things in life to grow, so this young man made the move away from his home and fam in North Carolina to reside in Houston, TX. Here are a few of the moments I captured of him the day before he made the move away.

I'll miss him and that huge smile, but I look forward to watching him live, learn,  and overcome new challenges to become all that I know he is capable of (and more). He's a man now!!!! 

A Place To Be Free...

There is something about being able to create images that feel so free. I love that we didn't have to leave the city to make create this experience. Celebrating the beauty of brown skin. It's natural to me. The representation of brown beauty is underwhelming... I capture the beauty I wish others to appreciate.

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JESSICA PRESCOTT - A ZEN ERA

"Follow on IG @madzetetic"

"Follow on IG @madzetetic"

When I first moved into my space at C3 Lab, one of the first artists I took note of was Jessica Prescott. She had a lot of photography work in her space. But the images had poems collaged to them. They were cut out and sewn into. It was more than photography. It was beautiful. It was just the type of thing I want to do with my images, but the final result is nothing like what I want my finished work to be. I could be inspired without copying!


Almost immediately after moving into my space – well, possibly right before, Jessica starting to switch her focus from photography to painting. But she wasn’t creating images of representational things with color. She was just exploring painting. Exploring what paint does. Working with the paint - pouring it on the surface, pulling paint, scraping paint. Sometimes unmoved by the painting she made, she'd completely cover it with more paint, and continue carving into the paint. Gluing things onto the paint.

Of the 8 or 9 artists I share the space with, Jessica is among the people I see most frequently. I enjoy our conversations, and we often discuss her new endeavors in painting. She doesn’t always seem to know the desired result of her explorations, and she often doesn’t like the "finished product". She just knows that she enjoys the process, so she keeps going until she reaches a pleasing result. It is an intuitive, whimsical, and earnest process. She doesn’t appear to over-think it. It seems very Zen.

That’s something I’m a fan of. Commit to your creative process and enjoy it. I don’t think it’s our job to judge the things we are fascinated with. I think our job is to follow our fascinations. Follow them and allow them to teach us something about ourselves or present circumstances. What do these fascinations mean? Are they helpful or harmful? How do people connect with them? As we learn the significance of what we are doing, how can we do it better?

So, that is something I want to do more. Plant the seed. Water the seed. Watch to see what fruit it produces.

She is also doing something cool with worms.

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Your Friendly Misanthrope

It's funny how people connect. I first met Hannah a few months ago at Art Chat Charlotte. I stopped in to observe the discussion about Performance Art (Dialogue in Action), and I remember her because she had on what I considered to be an unusual outfit, and posed an awesome question during the session that opened up some very interesting dialogue. 

A few weeks ago, my friend Lovonia mentioned Friendly Misanthrope, and though I didn't make the connection to the small-framed woman from Art Chat, I checked out the page on Instagram and started following.

Last week, I was one of 15 artists invited to participate in a session of Collecting Pile, a collaborative community drawing project that is going on through June (check it out when you get a chance). Anyways, Hannah was one of the other artists invited to this particular session, and as we spoke, she reminded me about our first meeting. She was now more familiar with my work, and expressed enjoying how I celebrate real figures and diversity in my photo work. We decided we should link again soon to continue our conversation. When I went back and reviewed her IG page, I knew she would be a fun person to get in front of the lens. I contacted her about being photographed, and she was down. Below are the highlights of our first collaboration.

Lately, I've been wanting to explore more overtly sexual themes with my photography, but haven't been sure how I wanted to address this. From my discussion with Hannah, I knew she would be able to help me create images that were more overtly sexual, but not about sex in the context it's usually presented. I wanted to create images that were "erotic, whimsical, and fun".  When she came by we had more awesome conversation about movies, diversity in art, health issues, beauty standards, and the differences in process of photographing herself and being photographed by someone else (me).

I really can't wait until my next meeting with Hannah. We'll probably grab a coffee, talk way too much, and figure out what to do the next time she is in front of this lens!

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FUCKIT.

Life is Good. So why is this the first image I shoot with a camera that was bought with gifted funds? I think this image is a part of my happiness. With so many positive things happening for me that deserve my attention, I don't have the energy to deal with the lemons life sometimes hands me. There are certain things that lie outside of my control and I refuse to give them much of my attention. Why should I? I can't change them - at least, not as quickly as I'd like to. I keep my head down and try to focus on what's working for me. When something doesn't work for me, I just look at it as something that shows a skill I need to learn. Know better. Do better. "Fuck The Rest!"

Mentally, I'm always waiting for the bottom to drop out. So I won't let anything less than The Trials of Job bring me down.