Jada Imani M Q&A
The Black gaze is the way Black people see ourselves and the outside world. Because of the intersections within our community, this can vary based on gender, sexuality and skin tone. As a Black woman, I use my work to show viewers the various ways I see myself and my community. – Jada Imani M
How does the Black gaze relate to your photography practice?
I make it a habit to photograph Black people, especially Black women.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
I want to show people that we are not a monolith. We can exist in different spaces without having to assimilate. Growing up I was called weird and I was uncomfortable with this terminology. I use my odd/weird perspective to fuel my art.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
Black art inspires me. When I look at 90s Hype Williams videos I am reminded to be my authentic self as an artist.
I am influenced by fantasy and I showcase that through the way I photograph people, the way I edit, and through the sets I build.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
Gordon Parks and Carrie Mae Weems because of the way they documented the Black gaze.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
The best part about being a Black photographer is knowing our perspectives are the same, but different. We have a lot of stories to tell. Though we all relate in some ways, one can always find differences in our life experiences. I would say this can also be the worst part.
Our experiences unify us, but divide us at the same time. There is sometimes confusion over who our target audience is, what we are promoting, and whose side we are on based on the work we present.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
I am balancing commissions with passion projects. I want to have more time for my personal work through editorial/documentary photography and film-making.
About Jada Imani M
Jada Imani M is a photographer, videographer, and creative director from Prince George’s County, Maryland. She began her journey in 2015 while attending The Art Institute of Washington where she studied Digital Film-making and Video Production.
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