Jeff Boxill Q&A
Jeff Boxill talks photography with The Black Gaze.
The Black gaze is about the experiences that exist within each and every single one us. There are stories at every single corner. And it’s those stories that allows us to have a voice; especially when so many people are voiceless, and don’t get to share those experiences.
It’s about showing other people that we’re here. And that we’re talented, creative, and fearless individuals that deserve to be heard. It’s about challenging and changing perceptions that centre around the “White gaze,” and allows us to exist in the same spaces we’re told we can’t be in.
How does this relate to your photography practice?
I’m not quite sure yet. I think right now for me, it’s just about doing the work, and figuring out what it all means later.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
I think this goes back to the previous question. I just want to do the work, and figure it all out later. I have an entire lifetime to figure it all out. I don’t necessarily feel like I need to explain my photographs.
I honestly don’t even like explaining my pictures. I believe if I do work, the photography should speak for itself. And in doing so, express my sensibilities.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
I’m not someone who wakes up in the morning inspired. I like going outside and just opening my eyes, and allowing that to take me where I need to be. Every day existing is what gets me going. Just simple things that we might take for granted on a day to day basis.
Going on walks, watching movies, drinking my favourite tea, going out to photograph, and talking to my favourite people. That’s where my inspiration comes from.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
Roy DeCarava is an all time favourite of mine. He was master of his craft; and not just in making the picture, but in printing as well. I learned a lot from looking at how he photographed. And how he just captured every day Black life, in an insightful way.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
I mean it’s tough out here. Again, trying to exist in “White spaces” is very challenging. I want my work to get noticed, but again, opportunity is not in abundance for people like me. Mix that in with social media, and I understand that I have to work extra hard to get noticed.
I love photography, and I’m going to do it whether or not I get the opportunities I want. Again, just going outside and opening my eyes, is what makes it all worth it. There’s so much nuance out there, and I get to see it all, and feel it too.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
Seeing and feeling.
About Jeff Boxill
Jeff Boxill is a Brooklyn-based street photographer whose lyrical monochrome images capture the beauty of every day life in the borough.
You can find more of Jeff’s work on his Instagram account.
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The Q&A is an ongoing discussion open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.