I’ve never posted a “Black” and “White” album before.
Yet, as I watched the footage of protests around the country while editing these photos from our own protest here, I just couldn’t help but wonder:
What would happen if I “removed the color?”
What would happen if this world REMOVED THE COLOR?
Mind you, as an African-American woman, I definitely wrestled with such a question because to “not see color” is to not see ME.
To “not see color” is to NOT acknowledge the reality that MY black is BEAUTIFUL (not that I need you to, honestly).
To “not see color” is to minimize the magnitude of the struggles, mistreatment, and injustices that PEOPLE OF COLOR SPECIFICALLY have endured for CENTURIES.
To “not see color” is to NOT recognize the blatant fact that race has always been - and still is - an issue.
To “not see color” is a cop out phrase for those who find themselves uncomfortable at the discussion of race at all, and is often an inadvertent attempt to pacify difficult discussions - usually with a person OF COLOR.
To “not see color” is an unintentional way of saying, “Let’s IGNORE this part of you in an effort to ‘get along.’”
To “not see color” is to NOT welcome and embrace what MY cultural identity and experiences uniquely bring to the table.
In a well-meaning effort to sound or appear inclusive, to “not see color” is - to a great extent - Exclusive.
But for real y’all…
What would life be like if we REMOVED THE COLOR?
Emmanuel Ronquillo, writer for “The Daily Californian (Berkeley’s News),” said in a recent article:
“A world without color is a dull one, so to live in a world as vibrant and illustrious as this is truly an experience that cannot be taken for granted. Love your favorite colors, and don’t hide them. For any and all reasons in the world, loving a color is a small treasure that can be made so much larger. People should honestly ask each other this question more often and let this little childlike query bring them even the slightest sliver of happiness.”
As an artist and lover of life (and its many colors) myself, I wholeheartedly agree with Ronquillo’s statements.
Color brings comfort.
With careful research and intentional use, colors can be used to promote desired mental and emotional outcomes.
Colors are aesthetic.
Colors are RELATIVELY beautiful, and “pretty.”
HOWEVER, colors also distinguish, differentiate, and enable us to winnow out; and everyone has their own “personal favorite.”
Colors allow our eyes to identify the target and draw conclusions without much use or contribution from our other senses. In other words, colors have the potential to isolate our senses down to the use of only one - our eyes - and HERE LIES THE DANGER.
So guess what. I decided to REMOVE THE COLOR. I want these photos to be viewed as more than just “pretty pictures.” I desire you engage senses beyond the eyes in order to fully process the information, intent, and emotion within each photo. Read the signs. Analyze the facial expressions. Regard the unity.
THIS is Birmingham.
THIS is my city.
DO NOT CROP
DO NOT COPY
DO NOT ALTER
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***NOTE: These photos were taken in honor and memory of the late Candice Parnell (@creatorcjparnell), Birmingham photographer, painter, and visual artist.
As I sat home watching the Live Feed of this protest, my mind and soul could NOT rest knowing that Candace would have been there capturing these moments.
She showed up to practically EVERY Birmingham event with her camera (and that is NO exaggeration)!
Candace’s artistic passion, diligence, and discipline is what inspired ME to show up and capture these shots.
And I’m so glad I did.