Location: Cleveland Heights, OH, United States
When living is a Protest was born out of the eyes of portraits taken as I traveled down into the deep south. The experience of black people in America is multidimensional and complex. It is my belief that their stories are often marginalized, . I started the “When Living is a Protest” series as a way of showing how the suffering of everyday people seems to have assimilated itself into their everyday. It is almost as if suffering is normal.
Topics such as hunger, disenfranchisement, limited or lack of resources, food deserts, poor education, and rampant crime are often used in everyday vernacular, rap songs, murals, signage, and clothing apparel to illustrate the daily life of African Americans. By documenting the everyday living conditions of African Americans, I intend to demonstrate that their lack of support structure, including inconsistent employment, economic hardship, poverty, and limited access to social services and proper education, contribute to the destabilization of African American communities and fuels criminal patterns and organized crime.
It was after reading these two quotes by Albert Camus that I discovered the linchpin for this series: “When the soul has suffered, it develops a taste for the misfortune,” and: “The only way to deal with an un-free world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
For years I have been attracted to the seemingly voiceless people in our society. I had an idea that I can make people rethink the way they see the Black image. My aim is to help change the way people think about the lives that seem mired in ugly stereotypes and distorted representations. I have walked with the folks who felt disenfranchised and invisible and I have tried to tell their stories of struggle and triumph. These 10 images represent those stories.