This is copy of today’s post from my current @spemccaucus takeover. I think it is always important to talk about influences, though many practitioners keep their influences private. While this may bring about unwanted comparison, it makes unmistakably clear the traditions at which I hope to look and with whom I’d like to converse. Not speaking of my influences is a certain type of erasure of my story and the people that have made ‘me’ possible. The meeting place me, our tomorrow, and the realization that I am bringing history with me culminates into destiny. Purpose means finding uttering production unnecessary.
So, Roy DeCarava’s work was introduced to me by name through a dear friend and great artist Zun Lee. He is also responsible to igniting my concern with love as an action, process, and concept within my practice of photography before portraiture became the way of making photographs. Seeing DeCarava’s work was a homecoming for me. His intent was to represent in all connotations of ‘represent.’ Too, his aesthetic resounded with me dark, low contrast printing. DeCarava wanted a full tonal range with full tone in the whites of the print. The tonal range was never. This paired well with content that still has me in the place he has framed for long moments, even after I’ve closed the book. He worked in the ‘Black Aesthetic.’ I found his printing to bring the heaviness of the experience within blackness from a personal perspective. While some have had a problem with this idea of a black aesthetic for its threats to confine and limit individual experiences, there is no denying that the spectrum from white to black in America has and continues to elicit community-building (and destroying) within and to human space and time. Peace and love