2020 by far has been the craziest year, and it's only July! From this scary deadly virus to weather changes, killer hornets and the political race. Not to mention the many deaths of black people by the hands of law enforcement and civilians attempting to "stop crimes" that never took place to begin with. As an artist, a black artist, there's a heightened sense of vulnerability in these uncertain times. Do I create lasting moments for others while simultaneously putting myself in potential danger of the virus, of unsuspecting power hungry individuals who think my camera is a weapon, of the rain or raging heat of Texas to get "the shot"? Absolutely.
My camera is my weapon of choice. It gives me a voice. It allows me to express who I am when words cannot do so. It gives me the power to bring forth issues that others may not know about. It gives me the ability to learn things that I have not growing up. The middle child, and having to 'grow up and take on more mature responsibilities' early have deprived me of many experiences. Growing up mostly lower - working class has also contributed to those lack of experiences. But somehow my camera gives me those experiences as an adult. Making tangible memories for families through portraits . I can only find about 4 pictures of myself as a kid. Capturing the joy of various events. I didn't get to experience many events like the Fair or Disneyworld. The occasional school field trip or waterpark was where it was for me (actually went to Jazzland New Orleans a lot before it closed down and was revamped to 6ixFlags, and the movie theater). Being in total control to create fantastic product shots is where my voice speaks loudest through my camera. Being able to compose, then composite via post production, a product or a food item has proven to be a challenge to many, but come smoothly to others.
A professor once told me "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." In some aspects, he was right with this advice. But then again, just because you can, you SHOULD. Because you CAN create, because you CAN invoke emotions and memories from a single image, because you CAN push your boundaries with composition and lighting and techniques, because you CAN be the voice for others, and because you CAN be the voice for yourself, you definitely should. I'm continuing to be my own voice through my camera because sometimes my words don't help.