“When I shoot, it is visceral”: photographer Jeremy Grier on his therapeutic practice
The New York-based photographer, who has been featured in the likes of Vogue and Broccoli Mag, talks us through his thoughtful practice.
- Jyni Ong
- 6 August 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
When Jeremy Grier takes a photo, his mind is fully in the present. He’s not thinking about the over-intellectualised meaning behind the image – when he shoots, it’s visceral. “Time will tell how my work is perceived and how my visual language is interpreted,” he says when asked whether he thinks he has a signature visual language. As for now, we can enjoy Jeremy’s work for what we can see: innocent faces, expressions captured mid-thought or simply at rest.
Since graduating from Southern Connecticut State University a few years ago, the New York-based photographer has shot for the likes of Reebok, Pyer Moss and Chromat and has been featured in publications such as Vogue and Broccoli Mag. Having grown up in Hartford, Connecticut, the young Jeremy was heavily influenced by the adults in his life. “At an early age,” he tells us, “I began to grasp that there was a richness in my culture and my Blackness because of them.”
He remembers his grandmother, a “very strong rock in my life,” who continues to fill this role to this day. His grandfather was also a great influence on the photographer. The first Black man in Hartford to own an oil company, Jeremy recalls how spending time with him (and the rest of the family) formed the foundation for a creative career to come; a foundation resting on understanding and self-awareness.
He didn’t start photographing until his junior year of college. There, the interest arose from a fundamental desire to share and create something. At the time, he was 23 years old and would travel frequently to neighbouring New York where he’d meet artists. The more artists he met, the more he started to “see myself through them and vice versa.” With time, his appreciation for the medium grew alongside being able to fully “experience life” for the first time. Photography became a vehicle to express honesty and vulnerability in both his work and personal life, something we can clearly see when considering his moving works.
Recently, he’s started to print his own images which has elongated his process of thought and reflection. “I’m learning and seeing my work in a physical way,” he says on the matter. Bringing his images into physical existence by printing them, the photographer has had time to reflect on the visual longevity of an image. Pondering one image to the next, he’s been granted time to think about what he wants to document next, too.
One of his favourite prints is Malik, currently featured in a limited edition print sale with 100 per cent of all proceeds doing to LGBTQI+ foundations, fund bailouts and other organisations committed to youth mentorship and community legal aid. With the help of Christelle de Castro, Darkroom, New York Nico and Streetdreams Mag who out the sale together, it’s a charitable effort that Jeremy would like to continue contributing to in the future. He hopes to have another print sale soon, highlighting his favourite images. Along with this therapeutic process, Jeremy has also enjoyed developing other practical skills which keep his hands busy; cooking, doing hair and other crafty likes. He also has a desire to travel, to continue developing his photography and capturing delicate moments poised in portraiture.
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.