Origin Story (1999–2007)
For a while, I told people that I started photographing at 21, believing that my artist friends in college turned me onto it; that music photography was my start. But it was not. I was 12 years old when I made the photograph of my own shadow.
One holiday, I visited my childhood home in Nashville and discovered 4 x 6” prints in a drawer tucked away in my old closet. To my surprise, they were my true beginnings: photographs that I made in middle school, between 2006–2007, for my first Photography class. This portfolio contains scenes from a camping trip, my friends, school, etc—and naturally—Black people were my first subjects. Seeing where I come from, rendered on film, authenticates the hopeful presentiment that I’ve felt in my creative life thus far. I remember my intial joy for photography, with no career in mind, just pure exuberance.
I think these early works, which at the time, I didn’t see as “works” at all, show an inherent intuition for the human form. The discovery of these old compositions have allowed me to retrace the origins of my interests, and simply slow down to appreciate the craft. I feel far removed from the middle schooler that made these pictures, and my younger self, from 1999, on the steps of my mother’s home in East Nashville. However, it’s fun to know that my love for making pictures was always evident.