A COLLECTIVE OF 80 BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS has come together to rally for change. See in Black was formed in response to the latest police killings and calls for racial justice. The group is harnessing its talent and resources to center black visibility and invest in black uplift.

The photographers are selling prints for $100 each and donating the funds raised to nonprofit organizations focused on black advancement through education, engagement, and action.

 


BRAYLEN DION, Based in Atlanta, Ga. | “Aria,” 2020. © Braylen Dion

 

An incredible offering of stunning images, See in Black’s inaugural project is titled “Black in America.” The photographers contributed “highly curated original images” that explore representation and identity and reflect their vision of a people.

See in Black emphasizes the power of agency and perspective when it comes to image making: “Historically, Black people have been on the receiving end of the camera lens as the subject matter. The gaze by which we were viewed was not ours. Now, it’s vital that we are narrators of how our stories are told and how we’re seen.”

“Historically, Black people have been on the receiving end of the camera lens as the subject matter. The gaze by which we were viewed was not ours. Now, it’s vital that we are narrators of how our stories are told and how we’re seen.” — See in Black

A mix of portraits, fine art, documentary and fashion photography, the selection includes a spectrum of subjects and styles shot in color and black-and-white. The project launched on Juneteenth (June 19) and the prints are available through July 3, 2020.

Chicago-born photographer Dana Scruggs lives and works in New York. The image she contributed exemplifies her practice, which is dedicated to the male form. Her subject’s pose, the contour and silhouette of his body, her use of light and shadow, and choice of background, form what amounts to an abstract image.

Scruggs had a breakthrough in 2018. She was the first black female photographer to shoot for ESPN’s Body issue. That same year, Scruggs photographed Travis Scott for the cover of Rollings Stone, becoming the first black person to shoot the magazine’s cover since its founding in 1967.

Her more recent covers also include Stacey Abrams for The Washington Post Magazine and Yara Shahidi for Town & Country magazine. Essence commissioned Scruggs to photograph Diddy (Sean Combs) with his children and his mother for its 40th anniversary issue. Last November, Scruggs photographed then-Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for GQ.

 


DANA SCRUGGS, Based in Brooklyn, N.Y. | © Dana Scruggs

 

A PORTRAIT AND DOCUMENTARY photographer, Melissa Alcena is based in Nassau, Bahamas. Her practice “focuses on shifting the paradise narrative of the Caribbean, by directly engaging with the people of the Bahamas in the everyday, and tapping into the humanity of its citizens.”

Ethiopian-born, Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Awol Erizku is known for his portraits of Brooklyn’s Afropunk Fest and Beyonce’s floral-inspired pregnancy photos. His photography has been showcased internationally in solo museum and gallery exhibitions and on the cover of Aperture’s Vision & Justice issue.

For GQ, Erizku has photographed Michael B. Jordan, DMX, J. Cole, Nipsey Hussle and Lauren London, and Ava DuVernay and the actors who portrayed the exonerated five in her limited seres “When They See Us.”

Ghanaian American photographer Joshua Kissi founded TONL, a stock photo agency that focuses on diverse images. His first book cover was “More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)” by Elaine Welteroth, the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. The image Kissi is offering with See in Black captures Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans. It is from an editorial shoot featured by Teen Vogue in March.

The output of married, New York photographers Rog and Bee Walker spans editorial commissions, commercial campaigns, documentary projects, and studio portraits. The couple has photographed Solange and Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and also shot images for the television series “Random Acts of Flyness” and “David Makes Man.” LaTonya Yvette’s recently published book, “Woman of Color,” was also photographed by the Walkers.

 


MAKEDA SANDFORD, Based in Brooklyn, N.Y. | © Makeda Sandford

 

OTHER CONTRIBUTORS to See in Black include Devin Allen, Faith Couch, and Gioncarlo Valentine (no known relation), who have connections to Baltimore. Rahim Fortune splits his time between Austin, Texas, and New York. St. Louis native Adrian Octavius Walker is based in Chicago.

Texas Isaiah spends time in Los Angeles, Oakland, and New York. His work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Aperture Foundation, The Kitchen, and Hammer Museum.

Awol Erizku, Arielle Bobb Willis, Micaiah Carter, Quil Lemons, Renell Medrano, Adrienne Raquel, and Dana Scruggs, were included in the “New Black Vanguard” exhibition and catalog, highlighting a new generation of fashion photographers.

See in Black contributors have worked with global fashion and style magazines, major news outlets, niche art and culture publications, shoe companies, fashion brands, musicians, athletes, artists, curators, nonprofits, and corporations such as Apple, Google, Target, Gap, and HBO. Some have also published monographic magazines and photo books.

 


MELISSA ALCENA, Based in Nassau, Bahamas. | “Fonz,” 2019. © Melissa Alcena

 

Andre D. Wagner mines the streets of New York for his images, which appear frequently in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Cut, among other outlets. His first monograph “Here for the Ride” (2017), gathered his subway images.

Through the lens of race, class, identity, and community, Wagner “explores and chronicles the poetic and lyrical nuances of daily life.” He also says his work “investigates the American social landscape.” He photographed the promotional portrait of Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith for the film “Queen & Slim.”

Nolis Anderson has photographed artists Nick Cave and LaToya Ruby Frazier for Chicago Magazine. Among the images offered by See in Black, Anderson captures a lone fist raised above a crowd. There are portraits of Nipsey Hussle by Meron Menghistab of Seattle and civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) by Anthony Geathers of Brooklyn.

A Marine Corps vet and School of Visual Arts alum, Geathers’s work spans portraits, advertising, and photojournalism. He is also known for his images of athletes and sports, including WWF and HBO Boxing.

Eritrean-American Menghistab’s commissions include portraits of Billie Eilish and Jeff Goldblum for Complex, Salma Hayek for InStyle, and Dapper Dan for Surface. The Hussle portrait was for BET. Earlier this month, Menghistab photographed Faith Ringgold for a feature profile in The New York Times.

 


NOLIS ANDERSON, Based in Chicago | © Nolis Anderson

 

SEE IN BLACK was spearheaded by Joshua Kissi, Micaiah Carter, Dani Kwateng, Andre D. Wagner, Florian Koenigsberger, and Anthony Coleman.

Describing the motivation for the project, See in Black states: “With the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Tony McDade, and other Black people at the hands of law enforcement, See In Black formed as a collective of Black photographers to dismantle white supremacy and systematic oppression.”

Sales of the prints benefit five nonprofits. See in Black says 100 percent of the profits raised will go to Know Your Rights Camp, Youth Empowerment Project, National Black Justice Coalition, The Bail Project, and Black Futures Lab.

See in Black functions on two fronts. It supports worthy organizations doing important work dedicated to empowering black people—youth, LGBTQ/SGL communities, activists and leaders, voters, and those in need of bail.

At the same time, it serves as an introduction for many to an expansive group of black photographers making groundbreaking moves in a variety of creative fields. Visit their websites, learn about their practices, follow their projects, and collect their work. CT

 

See in Black is offering photographs by 80 black photographs from June 19-July 3, 2020. Prints are $100 each with profits benefiting five nonprofit organizations focused on black advancement and racial justice.

 


ADRIENNE RAQUEL, Based in New York City. | © Adrienne Raquel

 


ANTHONY GEATHERS, Based in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, N.Y. | John Lewis. © Anthony Geathers

 


ARIELLE BOBB WILLIS, Based in New York City. | “Outsiders Division,” 2017. © Arielle Bobb Willis

 


IBRA AKE, Based in New York City. | © Ibra Ake

 


GIONCARLO VALENTINE, Based in New York. | “Boy on Church Steps,” 2017. © Gioncarlo Valentine

 


JOSEF ADAMU, Based in New York. | For Canon: Point of View. © Josef Adamu

 


RAVEN B. VARONA, Based in New York. | “Smino.” © Raven B. Varona

 


AWOL ERIZKU, Based in Los Angeles. | “Malcolm X freestyle,” 2018. © Awol Erizku

 


ALISSA ASHLEY, Based in Oakland, Calif. | © Alissa Ashley

 


MERON MENGHISTAB, Based in Seattle, Wash. | Nipsey Hussle. © Meron Menghistab

 


ANDRE L. PERRY, Based New York City. | Ayanna Wilks and Brianna Agyemang, Founders of The Brownie Agency. © Andre L. Perry

 


BETHANY MOLENKOF, Based in Los Angeles. | © Bethany Molenkof

 


RENELL MEDRANO, Based in New York City. | Untitled, 2018. © Renell Medrano

 


SANTANA BELLAS, Based in Oakland, Calif. | © Santana Bellas

 

BOOKSHELF
Envisioned by curator and critic Antwaun Sargent, “The New Black Vanguard” showcases the work of a new generation of fashion photographers, several represented in See in Black.

 

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