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in her own skin

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Celebrating Growth (NSFW)

Quiet as it's often kept, grown human women naturally grow hair in abundance on places that are not their head. They seem capable of deciding whether to shave it or leave it be. How we can decide that's NOT feminine, I'm not sure.
Anyhoo, I'll just be over here doing what I usually do... using my lens to celebrate some #UnashamedGrownWomanShit.  

 

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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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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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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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unapologetically beautiful...

i won't apologize for my beauty. i am magical. i like to wear wigs, but not right now. i like makeup, but not right now. i am intelligent. i am fascinating and alluring. i don't need to dress it up. 

i love myself. i love my ability to make decisions. I love to push myself beyond my comfort zone. I know not everyone understands all of my decisions. it's cool. i don't always understand theirs. i won't apologize. maybe my choices will inspire you. i hope my choices make you value your own.

choose to enjoy life. choose to learn. choose to challenge yourself. choose to challenge others. choose to be safe.

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i will choose to look you in your eye. i refuse to be ashamed of myself. in this moment, i choose to be bare. i choose to be vulnerable. i won't leave this to the imagination. i don't need you to be imagining this.  imagine me wearing makeup. imagine what books i'm reading. imagine what type of music i like. imagine how you might bring a smile to my face today. imagine how you can inspire me. imagine how you can make our world a more beautiful place.

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a new intention...

I love photographing nude figures as an extension of natural environments. Often, I've been able to photograph subjects in beautiful natural settings within Charlotte's city limits. 

But Charlotte, North Carolina is a rapidly growing city. As undeveloped land becomes more scarce, well-known landmarks are torn down,  and it often seems there are more construction sites than neighborhoods, I want to create images that capture People of Color in Charlotte's ever changing landscape. As the city strives to develop a new identity, I am striving to document the beauty of People of Color as part of Charlotte's past and present. I will continue to celebrate the significant part we play in the progress being made here. 

This isn't the beginning to a new approach to my photography, but it does mark a new intention. I want to understand the contributions of People of Color to the city where I reside, and I want to find creative ways to celebrate The Beauty of Brown in and around the Queen City. 

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