Today I dug through my ICP photo archive and found the very first image I took of April and Desire, the subjects of my current “long-term” project. When I looked at the metadata I came to the obvious yet surprising realization that I have known these girls since September. September. I have had a nine month photo-subject relationship; relationship being the key word here. When I first met the girls, they were two in a sea of a gaggle of girls dressed to the nines for their modeling club dubbed “Supreme Luxe” or SLM (Supreme Luxe Models). Fast forward through various trips to the mall, walks home from school, and here I am in May, being told by Desire that I have inspired her to be a photographer or that according to April, I have been adopted by both April and Desire’s families. So you mean I’m not just a photographer, I’m a character/subject in this story too? That’s pretty incredible.
It’s only now, while looking at this uninspiring “sketch” photo I took on a day of unsuccessful street shooting, that it is beginning to hit me how much I’ve learned from my year at ICP. I think many of us have been given the greatest gift this year—that is, to really delve into a subject matter and to give people a voice no matter how subtle, lighthearted, sad or complicated their story is. To be able to walk down the street, look around, notice a beautiful moment or interesting person and suddenly realize that everyone has a story to be told is a really incredible feeling that only us photographers have the courage and strength to explore. We have been so lucky this year to be given the safe space to practice this process. Yes, I know, my sentimentality is a little preemptive, but I thought I’d share my little epiphany. Hope you’re all practicing safe color correction and print procedures!