Photo of man praying with woman
Photo of children walking to church

Background/Foreground is a photo series I produced as I navigated Baltimore, often between my home in a predominantly poor, Black part of Baltimore to my studio in a predominantly wealthy, White neighborhood in Baltimore. That transition between worlds, which was demarcated by the major thoroughfare E North Avenue, became a complex and daily reminder of the spaces I was navigating with my work. The camera became my way of processing that transition, acting as a barrier between myself and the world when needed, and as a driving force to talk to people in my community and get to know the area. Through both 35mm and Medium format film, I photographed instinctually the moments and spaces that struck me without any particular agenda. There were many photos I did not take out of concern for the person I wanted to photograph or fear and discomfort in the situation. I was living in the community, but I was not a member of it, and I did not want to exploit the people in the area. Questions concerning my responsibility navigating and representing that space constantly impacted my work.

The imagery, at times, can feel rather mundane, and at other times quite dramatic. In Baltimore, I felt like there was a lot of waiting around. On any given day you could find whole neighborhoods of people strewn about meandering slowly like a southern drawl. Then, all of a sudden, the lackadaisical haze would be punctured by some surreal moment of disjuncture or serendipity–a burning building, a door placed on the side of a house that’s too high to access, a group of elderly folks singing and dancing to music blasting from the speakers of a nearby parked car. I never felt at home in Baltimore, and it would take more than a year and on photo project to begin to understand it. The gift I was given, though, was an immense appreciation for the range of human expression that can exist even over just a few blocks.

Photo of Baltimore citizen with breathing tubes
Photo of Cherry Blossoms

Filed under

Photo of Building Facade
Photo of Baltimore taxi driver helping passenger
Photo of Baltimore resident on stoop
Photo of wall graffiti
Photo of men walking outside of Hoffman Hardware
Photo of unlit string lights
Photo of building be demolished
Photo of youth hanging around Pepsi sign
Photo of young girls playing on a wall
Photo of boy leaning against a wall
Photo of Solid Rock Baptist Church
Photo of Jerry Carryout
Photo of boy biking by church
Photo of young person biking through a school zone
Photo of two ladies whispering to each other
Photo of burned out building
Photo of man with son at bus stop
Photo of an anarchy symbol
Photo of man staring through a gate
Photo of alleyway with overgrown weeds
Photo of a man selling shirts and shoes on the street
Photo of building with a door that leads to nowhere