Can you tell us about the work you made in 2020?
My work challenges how identity is created by story, folklore, legend, and ongoing community conversation. I’m driven by the perseverance of hyperlocal storytelling and how it can be its own mythology, in this case, “Afromythology.” This expression can be quantitatively and qualitatively more than a site-specific series of observations, it can also be an ethereal, existential, community-specific experience(s). My work isn’t created as a direct response to the ills of society, it’s meant to create a missing archive in the history of the African American community. My process is very much driven by my spiritual well-being. With that said, throughout 2020 I’ve been most interested in decolonizing the camera and giving agency back to the intended viewer through the subjects in the work. We often forget that the camera was—and to some extent, still is—a symbol of power. My process shifted slightly to address this power by reexamining my catalog.
How did the events of 2020 impact you as an artist? Did your outlook change?
When I was doing street photography, I was drawn to the notion of what happens to the self as the objects, spaces, and places around you begin to disappear. In other words, what happens to the Black body and mind in vanishing Black neighborhoods? However, throughout 2020, it’s been about when people disappear from COVID-19 deaths, from poverty, from senseless murders from police violence, and the mental toll of the cumulative effects of these systemic constructs. As a Black man, it has been a lot to contend with.