Brooklyn Photographer Sabrina Thompson Reminds Us that Marriage Rocks

Sabrina Thompson is an amazing photographer and visionary who creates positive imagery through her online campaigns The Social Series, to combat the continuous negative images that populate mainstream media. In June, she released her campaign on black fatherhood, titled Fatherhood Is… Her project celebrating fathers was touching and inspired me to reflect on my relationship with my own father here.

Sabrina’s recent campaign highlights the beauty in marriage featuring couples that were married 10 yrs or more. If you were skeptical of marriage before, this campaign will definitely change your mind. By the end of the video, I found myself shedding a few tears because of the true beauty of love that was presented in the images.  Through her images, Sabrina reminds us that it is okay to celebrate love, in fact, we need to do so more often.

When Sabrina began her casting call for this campaign, I knew I had to nominate my parents, Karen and Garry, as an exemplary married couple. On August 13th my parents celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary, which is a true testament that marriage can work. Before my parents began dating, they knew it was important to take the time to build a foundation of trust in their relationship. Even when they do not see eye to eye, their commitment to each other never fails. I asked my dad to define marriage and he discussed the power of a unit.  He told me that marriage is the act of two individuals becoming a single unit with shared responsibilities. He said marrying my mom completed him because she helped him become the man that he is now. My mom told me it is important to remember that marriage is hard work, but the lifetime companionship makes the struggles in marriage worth it. My brother and I are blessed to witness our parents’ love, support, and respect for each other.  Thank you Sabrina for this stunning portrait!

marriage is...the deans

You can learn more about all of the lovely couples here. Also learn more about Sabrina Thompson and her company, KUU Photography here.

Fatherhood is…Love

When I was 14, I found myself thinking about the definitions of father and dad. While I may use the two terms interchangeably, I find “dad” or “daddy” to be more personal for me. In 2005, I wrote a letter to my dad explaining my distinction between a father and a dad. In my eyes, a child created the word dad. It is a call of love. Anyone could be a father, but all father’s aren’t dads. Here’s my letter:

A dad is with a child from beginning to the end. He will support and love that child no matter what they choose to do in life.

A dad is a protector. His family is his world and if evil comes their way, he will be their Superman.

A dad is an architect. When it’s time for his child to build projects, he will immediately get his tools out, and help his child construct.

A dad is a teacher. He teaches that child about life. What to do and what not to do.

A dad is a role model. From a young child’s viewpoint, their dad is a strong and great man. And whether that child is a boy or a girl, they are amazed by his mighty presence.

A dad is the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Clause. When a young child comes down Christmas morning, she is stunned by mountains of toys. She thinks, “Wow, Santa got everything on my wish list!” But as that child grows up and the jolly Santa image slowly dwindles to a mere fairy tale, that child realizes it was dad that answered the wish list. It was dad that ate the cookies and drank the milk.

A dad is a preacher.  While growing up a child will make mistakes and the dad will be there to talk about the child’s problems. He will preach what’s right.

A dad is a king. He is the ruler of the household. What he say goes.

A dad is a friend. He could hang with his kids, joke with his kids, and just have fun. Why? Cause he’s cool like that.

These definitions are everything that my dad has been to me and my brother. We are blessed to have him as a father, but I thank God even more because he is my dad. In celebration of Father’s Day, I am including two awesome projects about fatherhood, particularly in the black community. There’s an unfortunate stereotype, and for some, a reality about absent black fathers. We do not see enough positive images of black fatherhood, which is why I am in love with Sabrina Thompson’s online campaign to show fatherhood in a different light. Check it out below.

The Social Series: Fatherhood is…

Learn more about this project and the wonderful families portrayed in the project here.

 

There is also The Black Fatherhood Project, created by Portland filmmaker, Jordan Thierry. Jordan comes from a family with strong lines of patronage; however he understands that many children in the African American community are fatherless. In a journey to find out how this came to be, Jordan tells the story of the fathers in his family, interviews black fathers in the community, and researches historical evidence of fatherhood in Black America. The film is available to watch in its entirety online. Check it out below. Also, learn more about Jordan’s work in empowering men of color here.

 

To all the dads, especially my own, Happy Father’s Day!!!

‘Beauty’ Exhibit by Erinn Cosby

Erinn Cosby, daughter of Bill Cosby, is a photographer that travels the world to capture global beauty.  In her most recent exhibit, Beauty, she sought to capture the every day lives of women and children in the Diaspora. Her exhibit is open now in Philadelphia in conjunction with the 29th Annual Celebration of Black Writing and will end by the end of May. Since I am returning to Philadelphia mid-May, I definitely plan to check out her work in person. Here are a few pictures from her exhibit and I will include a couple links to an audio interview with Ms. Cosby and an in depth article about her exhibit.

 

http://www.newsworks.org/components/com_flexicontent/uploads/photo02.mp3

http://www.phillytrib.com/lifestylesarticles/item/8842-%E2%80%98beauty%E2%80%99-complements-legacy-of-black-women-writers.html

 

Recently I came across a beautiful digital magazine, Mater Mea, that celebrates the lives of high-profiled women of color who balance motherhood and work.  The magazine uses photography and in depth profiles to create a special narrative of each mother and her children. This is definitely a publication I will support. Check it out.

http://www.matermea.com/

Henry Clay Anderson, (1911-1998), Motorcycle Riders, c. 1960

I love attending Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Arts whenever I get a chance because great artwork is always on display.  Duke is located in the heart of Durham, North Carolina–a central hub for black culture and history. Therefore, the Nasher always display great exhibits of African American artists. Here are a few photographers that are on display.

Dawoud Bey, (b. 1953), A Boy in Front of the Loews 125th Street Movie Theater (from the Harlem USA series), 1976

I saw this image by Dawoud Bey a year ago and immediately fell in love. In fact, I have a replica of it on my bedroom wall. I love the element of cool the young boy conveys.  His pose seems natural to me. This image is a part of Bey’s series, Harlem, USA.

 

Roy DeCarava, (1919 – 2009), Graduation, New York, 1949

 

 

Hank Willis Thomas, (b. 1976), and Kambui Olujimi, (b. 1976), Winter in America Series: Looking Through the Fence, 2006.

 

Howardena Pindell, (b. 1943), Video Drawing: Boxing Series, 1973-76

The cool thing about Howardena Pindell’s photo is that she took this image of a boxing match on television; hence the blurriness and pixelated image. To make the image interesting, Pindell draws on her television with markings of arrows and numbers, which alludes to some value of information.

Xaviera Simmons, (b. 1974), Session Four: Thundersnow Road, 2010

Xaviera Simmons is an artist, musician, and photographer that deals with themes of history, race, and identity—all subjects that are interest of me.  She is definitely an artist I will look into further.

Mickalene Thomas, (b. 1971), Lovely Six Foota, 2007

Mickalene Thomas is another artist I want to learn more. She is usually known for her colorful paintings of women and beauty. I also love her photographic portraits such as this one. Her images always give us a blast from the past as though we stepped into a 1970s movie set. And I love it.