Roxanne Munson Q&A
Roxanne Munson talks photography with TheBlkGaze.
The Black gaze means to me being able to see myself and others who look like me fully. Unfiltered. Raw. Real. Beautiful. It matters because it helps me show up in the world fully and unapologetically as my Black self.
How does this relate to your photography practice?
I am intentional about letting people know I see them. I connect with them because they trust me and know I want to get to know them better. My images show a human connection because I focus on capturing people from a non-voyeuristic approach.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
I want to change the narrative regarding Black/POC not living full and thriving lives. I want Black/POC to know they can travel through the world and not have to move in fear.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
I am very self reflective and love people watching. I love watching how people interact with their environment and the people in it. Before I click my shutter I often say, “When I look at you I see myself..” I try hard to see elements of myself in the people I capture. I have to see myself in my work or it is not meaningful to me.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
Definitely Gordon Parks. He set the standard for showing the world Black people should be seen and captured living fully. I also love Carrie Mae Weems. She was unafraid to use her photography to discuss aspects of the Black experience from a Black female perspective.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
As a documentary “family” photographer, many of the spaces I roam are NOT diverse. I have taken courses with over 40 people and I am the ONLY Black person. I hate that it is so lacking in diversity, and white people fail to see/know we too live full and thriving lives.
But I am a big believer in ‘Be the change you want to see”. So I have challenged owners of various organisations to diversify their platform. And I am now creating educational content for non-Black photographers regarding being more inclusive to Black/POC.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
I am currently working on a photo essay about my lived experience as a Black woman in Mexico for six years. I would like to do more long term documentary projects about stories I find interesting.
About Roxanne Munson
Roxanne Munson is a Mexico-based documentary family photographer who wants everyone in front of her lens to feel seen and valued. Her passion for photography started when she became a mother, and wanted to document her children.
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The Q&A is an ongoing discussion open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.