Dominique Terteweh Q&A
Dominique Terteweh talks photography with TheBlkGaze.
The Black gaze is something that comes attached to a Black person when their experience has been exploited for the benefit other than Black people. My work appreciates the Black narratives that happens to shoot from the Black gaze. I don’t shoot only for the Black gaze, it’s just something that’s attached to Black creators and that something I cherish.
How does this relate to your photography practice?
I make images in aesthetics that I want to see black people be apart of. I keep the black gaze in mind because I know we want move narratives then the ones that are forced on us.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
My photographs reflect the memories I often overlook in my life. I hear this statement a lot from new photographers saying, “There’s nothing to photograph in my town/city, nothing is interesting,” and I totally disagree. I know it’s hard to take your life into consideration as art but you gave to find those little things in your life as inspirations and I find the joy in my simple life, as cheesy as it sounds LOL!
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
There’s no limitation when it comes to inspirations from the people and to objects to me and oh my gosh being on social media, there is inspiration porn everywhere and to be honest it’s quite overwhelming.
You have all of these aesthetics to choose from and sometimes it’s hard to pick from broad selections. That’s why I try to slow it down and try to take from my life and create my own aesthetic to create the simple things into art, like a painter. It’s easier to look at paintings for a simple reference because I can reflect those candid images in my life.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
Who are your favourite black photographers from the past? Why? I adore the works of the G.O.A.T. Gordon Parks, the fabulous James Van Der Zee, and the beautiful Carrie Mae Weems.
The portrayal of the people photographed, is shot so respectfully and obviously from the black gaze, if you were obvious of who the photographers were.
Zee wanted to see black people in luxury and live lavish lives so that’s what he photographed. Parks wanted to bring light on the civil right issues and poverty so that’s what he photographed. Weens wanted to photograph family relationships so that’s what she photographed. There’s familiarity in the subject matters I can add perspective from my experiences.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
I haven’t gotten into photography seriously until late August of 2020 and in that time, I’ve been applying for internships and have been rejected from all of them. There aren’t a lot photography related internships I know around my area so I have applied to a lot of companies with predominantly white spaces and sometimes it makes me wonder if they rejected me because they think I’m unqualified because of my skin tone.
The highs of being a black photographer is the build of community and support from other black photographers. There no other way to describe the feeling to be recognized from black photographers because no one else will. I was able to get more feedback on my work and improve from here.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
I’m a senior in college and right now I’m working on my senior project which is based on taking portraits of students living in the dorms during a pandemic. I started on the project in January and will be done in late fall.
This is my first big photography project and I’m excited to see the finish project. But I want to start my own personal projects over the summer time because I’m more confident and comfortable on photographing and I want to express that through projects.
About Dominique Terteweh
New Jersey-based Dominique Terteweh is college senior studying a B.F.A. in Photography.
Dominique work focuses on documenting her surroundings and the people coming into her life at that point in time.
You can find more of Dominique’s work on her Instagram account.
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The Q&A is an ongoing discussion open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.