Last year, as I started working on my new project, "A Subway In Harlem," I rewatched the movie Belly. The color theory and imagery Hype Williams put into the film made Belly one of my main visual inspirations for my project. There's a scene when they go back to Buns' (DMX) house after robbing the club and Sincere (Nas) is sitting underneath this huge black and white photography. That piece, as well as the other pieces hanging around Buns' house in the scene are from a collection called "Soul" by fashion photographer Thierry Le Goues. Goues' "Soul" is the direct inspiration behind this series, "Liberation", as well as one of the main inspirations for A Subway In Harlem.
I named this series "Liberation" after the Outkast song off of Aquemini. The lyrics read:
There's a fine line between love and hate you see,
came way too late by baby i'm on it.
Can't worry 'bout what another nigga think
thats liberation and baby I want it
Those words mirror an internal struggle i've been having for quite some time now. As I began this project, I noticed I was moving far away from the style I became popular for. I became bored with everything I was working on. I became tired of being put in a box of only being able to shoot a certain style. I got tired of being overlooked. I also feared moving into a new style of turn a lot of people off. I started creating with what people wanted to see from me in mind and that's never the way to go. So I took a leap of faith and started creating new styles. I started posting less on social media and began focusing on bettering my style and craft. I was afraid people weren't going to like any of my new work. But I ran into a mentor to me, Chilly O and he gave some simple yet extremely comforting words. He simply said, "I see you, keep it up." He told me he could tell i'm trying to move into a fine art realm and that i'm doing well. That gave me all the confidence I needed.
Liberation: Photo Series 2017
Photographer: Spencer Charles
Model: Tiffany Toffey
A Subway In Harlem Collection coming soon...