See In Black is a coalition of Black photographers who “serve as storytellers of their own narratives”
Founded by Joshua Kissi and Micaiah Carter, the group has released prints (launched on Freedom Day) with profits going to BLM causes.
- Jenny Brewer
- 25 June 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
On Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day – a portmanteau of June and 19th, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of slaves in the US – a flurry of vital and powerful campaigns launched. Among them, the See In Black print sale, raising funds for Black Lives Matter organisations while also giving a platform to Black stories. Founded by Micaiah Carter and Joshua Kissi, the coalition of Black photographers exists not merely to make images of Black figures, the founders explain, but to “document history that is often unrecorded with intentionality, respect, nuance, and care. We serve as storytellers of their own narratives… [and] a platform for Black people to stand proudly in their permanence.”
Among the esteemed list of 70 contributors to the sale are Alexis Hunley, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Dana Scruggs, Flo Ngala, Ike Edeani, Mahaneela and Mark Clennon, each bringing their own distinctive aesthetic and voice. “With photography,” Carter tells It’s Nice That, “I am able to evoke emotion without having to say anything. As professional photographers, we are in a space where we’re able to connect with other photographers. It’s great to see everyone come together and show a vision of America, of Black America, in a sense that is through that representation from the back end and front as well.”
Kissi says that, in the current climate “you can’t help but just feel helpless in a lot of ways. You want to respond as an artist, as a creative, as a photographer, but you also need to feel. As artists, or as photographers, it’s important to feel first, because we’re human beings before we even put a camera to our eye. Feel all the feelings you’re supposed to, and then from there, the next step would be apparent.”
The See in Black print sale is on until Monday 6 July 2020; prints are $100 plus tax and shipping, and produced by Artifact Uprising. All profits will go to what See In Black describes as “five key pillars of Black advancement: civil rights, education/arts, intersectionality, community building, and criminal justice reform,” specifically these organisations: Know Your Rights Camp, Youth Empowerment Project, National Black Justice Coalition, Black Futures Lab, The Bail Project.
Below, four of the contributing photographers tell the story behind their image.
"There is something incredibly powerful, confident and nostalgic about the freedom with which Fonz celebrates his Blackness, so it was important for me to capture that strength and regality in the way I framed the photo. I feel this image effectively captures how I saw him as a Black woman and photographer, which is a perspective See In Black aims to amplify."
“This image is from my series Stranger Fruit. The series references Michelangelo's Pieta, a motif used often in art history. There is something magical about this family wearing white, in front of Lake Michigan, that I felt was too beautiful not to share."
“This image was created in 2016, during a previous time of protests sparked by the imagery of Black people being killed, but time has continued to make this photo relevant as a counterpoint to the continuing images of death. I submitted this image in this instance to display the beauty of tenderness in Black men, and the power of love and family as an act of resistance.”
“I made this in the Fall of 2017, when it was becoming apparent that Colin Kaepernick was being blackballed by the NFL. I was feeling a deep frustration with the reality that no matter how closely we obey orders or follow commands, we could still face ultimate punishment. See In Black felt like the right home for this image because I knew it would be situated with images of Black joy, love, and resilience, not just pain."
GallerySee In Black
Braylen Dion: Aria (2020) for See In Black