view larger        max size
Silver Gelatin Print
11in x 14in
<< back         view
Born in the Northeast and transplanted to the South, I am focusing on the community around me. I started yearning to feel a sense of community here in Baton Rouge and thought my photographic medium could aid in the process. Outsiders commonly view the community I live in as dangerous and unwelcoming. As time passes by and as a residence of this street, I have found this to be a misconception. My work demonstrates ideas of community existing beyond racial perceptions and “ghetto stereotypes.”

I began my most recent project with a goal of photographing everyone from my neighborhood. I want to meet and photograph the people who share the space in which I live. I yearn to meet the people outside my small one room studio apartment, behind my metal barred door on this controversial street. It is just me, my camera, and a sign made from Sharpie marker that reads, "Free Photographs for Neighborhood Picture Project". I greet all passers-by, whether in cars or on foot, encouraging them to have their photo taken. I want to know my neighbors, and to have them feel comfortable with the fact that we share this space together.

Initially, I photographed people in their environment with the neighborhood as the background, but gradually positioned them in front of a neutral grey backdrop, often attached to my front door. This background allows me to focus more on my subject and allow hints of the physical neighborhood landscape to creep in as I see fit.

I photograph with a 4x5 field camera and black and white film. This camera commands attention and gives me credibility as an artist to my neighbors. Portraiture has historically been a privilege of upper class society. I feel as though by providing my neighbors with a persona print, made in a traditional photo process, I am giving them something precious. In return for helping me build my sense of community, I give a silver gelatin print to every one of my neighbors. I plan to continue this project until I can include all of those who want to be a part of it.