ABOUT THE WORK
As a former Memphian and quasi-grammarian, the name of this body of work is meant to be a double entendre. Literally, the images are of Memphis (adjective) faces (noun). Figuratively, Memphis (noun) faces (verb) begs the question: What does Memphis face? The images are of blacks, whites, the wealthy, the working poor, and those in between. They are juxtaposed against each other, and are a reflection of the barriers, which existed when I was growing up in Memphis and are still apparent today.
The Loss Project
Started in 2014, the Loss Project is a merging of psychology and photography, an artistic exploration of the human condition, presented in a series of environmental portraits with the theme of loss. The imagery may include loss due to breakups; divorce; death; abandonment; neglect; separation from people, places, things, or ideas.
This ongoing project is meant to serve as a form of art therapy on a number of levels. For me, it is a manifestation of my own grief experiences that will, hopefully, over time be a catharsis. For subjects in the portraits, it offers a safe place to process thoughts and emotions about loss in the act of modeling and in receiving their images. For viewers, it is an opportunity to connect with their own sense of loss and grief in a way that is meaningful. In seeing the project for the first time, a Facebook follower reported: "I shared your Loss Project. I love it! So many of them brought joy and sadness. In a weird way, it's beautiful to know that someone else had felt what you've felt. That you're not alone..."
In 2016, the Loss Project found its proper home at HealGrief, a nonprofit whose mission is "to remove the taboo regarding death by creating a conversation about an inevitable life cycle and to validate the feelings and emotions associated with bereavement." There, my Loss Project images related to death, along with subjects' stories of their grief, are exhibited in an online gallery. Moreover, there is a call for entries to the public to share imagery about their own losses. In so doing, the Loss Project becomes a therapeutic intervention, so to speak, wherein anyone in the world can share their story, whether or not he or she identifies as an artist.
VIRAL: 25 Years
This small body of work represents my contribution to a larger group project entitled "VIRAL: 25 Years from Rodney King," which was displayed in Venice and Oakland, CA in 2016. The images document the locations where individual lives--DeAunta Terrell Farrow, Alex Nieto, Gustavus Rugley, Mario Woods, Jamill Wheatfall, Oscar Grant, Duanna Johnson, and Larry Neal--were taken prematurely due to racism and an abuse of power and control. They document a sickness in America that has gone unhealed for decades and demands our immediate attention.
As a biracial child born and raised in Memphis, I heard my share of "yellow" and "chink" jokes, which took its toll on me. The emotional climate there felt hostile, yet my father taught me, "we are our brother's keeper." When I was older, he advised me that my job should benefit others, not just myself, and so I grew up to be a clinical social worker and, now, fine art photographer. As a person with a passion for social justice, I have long been troubled by inequity in our society. The #BlackLivesMatter movement struck a chord in me, and I am proud to share my voice in this protest.
In working as a contract photographer for City Lights in San Jose, CA from 2015-2016, I was pleased to create the publicity and production photos for performances throughout the year. My work on behalf of the theater honored my lifelong interest in the visual and performing arts as well as my belief in supporting local businesses that build strong communities.