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.


Jeaná E. Morrison said...

love how bilal is playing in the background of the video. PHILLY stand up!

Illmatic said...

Great interview and I look forward to seeing more of Aaron-Lopez's work. I especially  appreciated the young artist's sophistication and lack of pretentiousness. smart black girls rock my world!

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