Last Tuesday was the premiere of the incredible photography book Mfon at the International Center for Photography in Manhattan. I had been aching to finally see the finished product and I was not disappointed. Editors Adama Delphine Fawundu and Laylah Amatallah Barrayn created a compilation of beautiful, powerful and touching photographs that celebrated black womanhood and the power of Black women photographers. Given the level of talent featured, it would be an understatement to say I was honored to be included.
The book signing event was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was exhilarating being in the same room with all of this excitement and positivity. I felt like I was swinging between a giddy high school girl and rock star signing copies of the books and getting to know the other photographers and asking them to sign my copy as well.
I finally got a chance to settle down with the book over the weekend so I could study each image and read the touching essays and tributes to Mfon, the book's namesake. I shed tears over the power and intensity of her legacy.
So, please, please, support this book and support Mfon's legacy. Copies are still available for sale by making a donation at http://mfonfoto.org/.
A modern day cameo. This Inkscape portrait was inspired by the elaborate old whiskey boxes that my dad used to have that were decorated with ornate cameos and portraits of men and women sipping whiskey from teens and 20s. The succulent rose crown gives off Frida Kahlo vibes and was a last minute touch. Thankful for Myongii for bringing regal #blackgirlmagic to this look.
Trying a different approach to this Inkscape #portrait. I took a ton of pictures of my model Erika during our session but some of my favorites involved shots of her back because it looked so graceful, like a dancer. Adding the Inkscape as a trail behind her was giving me Degas vibes too. I've also been dying to incorporate geometricshapes to my portraits so I'm happy with the way this one came out.
The excitement and support for Mfon is growing! Vogue did a lovely write-up on the upcoming book featuring editors Laylah Amatullah Barryn and Adama Delphine Fawundu. In it, they discuss the motivation and inspiration behind this labor of love.
Copies of the book are still available for sale with an upcoming book signing in New York City on Thursday, November 16th at the Magnum Foundation. I'll be there to sign copies and celebrate so if you'd like to attend, you can reserve your free tickets here!
One of the inspirations behind this newest piece was one of the promotional posters for my new favorite show Queen Sugar featuring two of the lead women actors Dawn Lyen-Gardner and Rutina Wesley. The show is shot with such indescribable beauty and sensitivity that it's hard not to be inspired by it. What stays with me about the show is how the characters, in spite of their very relatable flaws, have such capacity for hope and growth. This capacity for growth is what we have to hold on to these days when the news seems so seemingly stark and replete with bad news about hurricane aftermaths and mass shootings.
This piece is also the latest in my series featuring Black women and I was excited to create a work featuring two women together, reinforcing the importance of unity and solidarity and how when we come together, what we create is phenomenal. I'm also continuing with my continued intrigue with an interstellar theme because I think it also signifies limitless possibilities. A good friend told me that he likes to study cosmology and the nature of the universe because it puts things in perspectives when it comes to our place in existence, an idea which I love. Looking to the stars helps keep my sanity and the concept of incorporating Black imagery with it lends to the idea of possibility of expansion.
Thursday's reception for the Artist Co-Op Exhibition was a success. Thank you to everyone who came out and supported me and all the other exhibiting artists!
The exhibition will be on display until November 11, 2017 at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.
I'm noticing that fire is an underlying theme in this latest round of #Inkscapeportraits. Maybe on a subconscious level, I feel like every woman has something burning within her, be it #desire, rage, #vivacity, etc. I find this especially to be the case with the #women that may seem to be reserved on the surface but if you take the time to look her in the eyes, you see something powerful within.
This is my latest on the series I'm currently working featuring people of the African diaspora, with emphasis on black women. During these increasingly tumultuous times, I find solace on celebrating the multi-dimensional aspects of black womanhood, which has been the backbone of so many social justice movements. Our often celebrated resilience comes at a high price that frequently leaves us feeling depleted, forsaken and overlooked. With this yet untitled series, I endeavor to present images of black women that are soothing and energizing reminder of the importance of self-care, self-love, and celebration of our womanhood. The above image is the most recent image of this series. You can see other portraits that I've done on my online portfolio or Instagram.
I'm currently looking for models who may be interested in participating. No experience is needed and I look want to celebrate a diverse representation of black women. Compensation will be in the form of free head shots and a free print of the final work.
If you or someone who know lives in the New York City area and would be interested in participating, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This latest Inkscape portrait is a part of an ongoing project that I want to dedicate more time to. This image in particular was inspired by an old Ramsey Lewis Sun Goddess album, which my dad had a copy of when I was growing up. I used to love studying how wondrous it looked. Similarly, I wanted to created a sense of inner luminescence, which is why I wanted to make sure the face of my muse was awash in #gold.
I want to experiment more as I get more comfort with this series. I tried several different versions of the image, layering the portrait with lots of #Inkscapes but I felt like something simpler was better, so as not to overwhelm people with detail.
A few days ago I announced that my work will be included in the upcoming photography journal, Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. I'm pleased to announce the book is now available for pre-order!
Each book is $25 and will debut in the fall. You can also contribute any amount you wish to the overall project which will provide opportunities for Black women photographers. You can purchase by clicking the link below. Learn more about the Mfon project by visiting: http://mfonfoto.org/
Thank you again for all the well wishes and enthusiasm!
To purchase: https://www.gofundme.com/mfonwomen