Last week, in response to the situation in USA, I froze. What to say? What to do?
So I said nothing.
I posted my black square and cancelled my AMA Facebook live to allow black voices to be amplified.
I’ve tried to educate myself and think about what I’m doing to prevent black photographers approaching me for help. I’ll be making changes to acknowledge those observations.
But after a week of silence, I’ve decided to step back in with my own voice.
I’m probably going to get some things wrong. I’m probably gong to be clumsy or say things the wrong way or be called out. I’m petrified of sharing the below, but if I don’t make mistakes I won’t learn.
Advertising photography is a damn hard industry to break into. It’s hard even if you’re a white middle class male, and don’t even start me with the difficulties for women in the industry.
There are a few amazing black photographers who’ve been successful as photographers and I admire and respect them and salute the struggle they’ve faced to get to the top.
But goodness me the industry is in dire need of diversifying, and how can it do that if the only people they can find are those who’ve always had a voice?
I am about to launch into week 1 of my 8 week mentoring programme, helping professional photographers get paid to shoot what they love.
For the first time ever the group (so far) is all women. I’m so thrilled about this direct reflection of the women’s movement and I cannot wait to see them bust down that heavy glass ceiling.
I know this can happen for black people too.
If you’re a non black photographer you can create imagery that helps draw attention to inequality, or shine a light on amazing black people. Whatever fits with your why. I can help you do this.
This is a long game, and systemic racism is in all of us. I didn’t think I was racist, but I can see ways that I can demonstrate this better, and make up for a lifetime of underlying assumptions, by changing habits, behaviours and actions.
Publicly I will be continuing to amplify black voices and supporting the cause while I run and grow my business and support others to do the same.
A black square is not enough.
Let’s keep talking about it, and together find ways to grow and embrace everyone.