Ramie Ahmed on documenting his Black trans and queer chosen family in New York City
Whether it’s at a protest or in the quiet of their rooms, Ramie Ahmed is documenting his community loudly.
If you look, much can be found photographically of queer people in New York City. But is it enough, is it Black enough and who has been holding the camera? These are the questions that New Jersey born and raised Ramie Ahmed is answering within his practice as a “lens-based artist” documenting his Black trans and queer chosen family in the city. “I want to shed a light on the vast community, so that others can be inspired to live authentically”. And with such intention behind his work, he walks around with his camera held high – not by his hip waiting to get a secret shot – so that his subjects can be brought into the moment, looking straight down his lens.
Ramie’s process consists of more than a snap; he seeks to bring every person he documents into a moment of joy and safety. Capturing beauty, protest, couples holding hands, park-bench laughter and club nights, he is creating narratives outside of campaigns within genuine communities. And besides being inspired by Nan Goldin’s similar penchant for documenting the less visible, Ramie is simply driven by his friends. “They keep their heads high, carry themselves with grace despite the world we live in as LGBTQ+ people – and they look good doing it”.
Ramie Ahmed: Joela, Black Beauties (Copyright © Ramie Ahmed 2022)
About the Author
Yaya (they/them) joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in June 2023 and became a staff writer in November of the same year. With a particular interest in Black visual culture, they have previously written for publications such as WePresent, alongside work as a researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery.