The Talk (2018-Present)
These images were created in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement. The faceless men represent individuals affected by this systemic issue. Those void of the figure symbolize the stories that struggle to be told; they ones that do not receive news coverage. Incarceration rates, racial profiling and fatalities from law enforcement disproportionately affect individuals of color. Police officers have the difficult task of protecting and serving our communities. They are people we depend on in common and extreme situations. I have nothing but respect for these women and men who risk their lives daily, but every black family still has to have “the talk” with their children; especially their sons. Every few months a high profile story emerges about another individual who is a victim of the criminal justice system. These situations have become all too common.
Social media and the digital age have given us access to see how excessive force has been used in several situations with individual’s of color. These problems are not new. As a country we transitioned from slavery and Jim Crow laws to segregation to civil rights. These issues went from overt to covert. Although these matters regarding race are better than they have been in decades, we still have problems within our society that have yet to be properly addressed and fixed.
State of the Union (2017)
On January 21, 2017 individuals gathered worldwide in a collective vision of equality. The women’s march on Washington DC became the main stage for a political/ social movement that united people from different cultures, economic status, genders, political, religious backgrounds etc. Issues dealing with the wage gap, legislation over reproductive rights and other matters regarding women and marginalized groups have received more attention in mainstream media recently. These are not new problems but ongoing ones that deserve an opportunity to be discussed. Throughout the 2016 presidential election these topics among many others have created social discourse that has divided and unified our country in many ways. Around 4.2 million people gathered to make this the largest demonstration in U.S. history.
Twins (2008- Present)
In my Twin series my thoughts are translated into visual representations of memories. I use the camera as a tool to mirror my likeness and create an alternate persona. He is an inverted image of my own personality, the individual who identically resembles me but is different. This other person is my imaginary twin.
Most of my work deals with identity. This body or images is no exception. Through an introspective look at myself I allow these dual self-portraits to place an emphasis on personal identity. I have imagined that it would be interesting to have a twin brother. Although I am not an only child the clandestine relationship between twins has always been intriguing to me. Someone who is similar to you in so many ways but can also be your polar opposite. This curiosity caused me to explore the different facets of myself through two individuals, Michael and my alter ego Marcus. I approach these tableau’s as a translucent figure. I am an unseen participant documenting these intimate occurrences between the brothers, allowing this non-linear story to unfold uninterrupted. This gives the viewer a voyeuristic perspective of watching the interaction between two and aids in giving insight into their life.
Through these seemingly ordinary situations I construct a narrative that ties into my subconscious thoughts and my own experiences. In addition to looking at my personal identity I use these photographs to examine my connection to others. Certain relationships I have had, with either friend or family member, are reflected as a mirror image of myself just as if a piece of my own persona is somehow reflected within their personality. Marcus serves as a vessel to help transmit their presence and story to the image.
I have shaped an environment where two distinct versions of myself can coexist, each backdrop depicting scenes of everyday life. Through the visually subtle use of manipulation that I use I want for my viewer to question. Question the relationship between the two brothers and the believability of the imagery. By constructing a fallacy I am able to give a truthful perspective of myself.
8 Lives Left (2010-2011)
These images were created in an unfortunate incident involving me losing my footing around my roommate’s cat. The result of this accident left me hospitalized for 3 days with a broken ankle, cracked fibula, torn muscles, and dislocated foot.
The cat is an animal that I truly identify and am constantly associated with due to my curious nature and perplexity to find myself in interesting situations. People commonly use the phase curiosity killed the cat. I respond simply with “Why do you think the cat has nine lives?”
Being an individual who has wandered cities, I attempt to set myself apart by blending in. The locals of Italy are accustomed to moving out of the way of those taking photographs. I did not want them to move. I wanted them to stay as they were and allow life to unfold before me. In this body of images I observed the subtle differences from their culture while also correlating similarities within my own.
On August 9, 2014 an unarmed teen, Michael Brown, was killed by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. His death sparked a national response and international attention to an issue within our country, “post racial America”.
Ferguson is a suburb of my hometown, St. Louis, MO. This place where I grew up had become an epicenter of a potential civil rights movement. When this situation arose, I wasn’t home. I stayed on the phone several nights with my family and friends, as I followed the news and social media to see how the circumstances surrounding a young man’s death were evolving into something more.
I returned home on the same day the National Guard left Ferguson, a couple of months following the shooting. I didn’t know what to expect upon my arrival. There were no protests and there wasn’t an overabundance of cops on the street. For every piece of vandalism and destruction I encountered, I found a mural depicting positive messages in attempts to unify the city. The images in this body of work do not have any people just an environment that was the center of anger, hurt, confusion and chaos. Michael Brown’s death was a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement. It helped bring the discussion of institutionalized racism in our country to the forefront in social media.