11.7.11

This (Black) American Life / "There's no dialogue for strange black people"



///"There's no dialogue for strange black people ... all of these different sub-cultures that make up American culture, we seem to be excluded."///

This quote, from Atlanta-based photographer Carla Aaron-Lopez, is what struck me the most in the video interview that follows below. I enjoyed listening to her explain, with matter-of-fact confidence and clarity, the whys and hows of her work. And what she pointed out about the lack of dialogue helped explain why some of her work makes me a little uncomfortable.



Don't get me wrong. Aaron-Lopez has a strong eye for detail, color and composition. She has a knack for highlighting life's oddities and outliers. And if you know me even a little bit, I talk a great deal about craving portrayals of black people that don't fit into these preconceived notions of what blackness (or womanhood or American...ness) is supposed to be. And I suppose that even though this is exactly what I want to see, that discomfort comes from just how rare it is to see images like this.



I am glad that an artist as intelligent, talented, and self-aware as Aaron-Lopez, who is also a writer, is opening up that dialogue, and asking what it means to come of age as a young black person in 21st-century America.

You can see her portfolio here and follow her on Tumblr here.