A group of artists are collaborating with Darkroom on a charity print sale that will give 100% of proceeds to various organizations supporting legal defense, youth mentorship, and LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual or allied).
The sale, which features prints highlighting expressions of power amid ongoing protests sparked by police brutality, began Thursday and will last until June 25. The initiative raised $35,000 on the first day.
“The collection is trying to capture the full spectrum of the black experience: everything from the youth to the elderly to gay or trans lives,” Steve Irby, one of the collaborating photographers, told Cashay. “We've all experienced a lot of pressure, a lot of oppression... and the really strong part about [the collection] is being unified throughout that, throughout all of our experiences, no matter if we know each other or not.”
Irby, who recently published a photo essay on protests in New York City, added that the collection is part of a cultural moment driven by “us assuming back a sense of control, us dictating the story, and us telling you how we see our world.”
Above each photo is a caption provided by the photographer:
“Fist clenched, a 6-year-old boy launches out the vehicle, screaming ‘No justice, no peace’ at a protest in downtown Brooklyn.
Is it 1960 or 2020? Jahsiah ‘Jah’ Clark personifies OUR struggle and the ongoing fight for racial equality. As a symbol of the next generation and those to come, where do we go from here?”
— Kenny Cousins (@FlatTopPhotography)
“I turned around and there it was, approximately 49th and 7th on A Sunday march.” — Daniel Arnold (@Arnold_Daniel)
"I’ve never been part of such a large crowd of people… I could look to my left and right and see people everywhere, but it wasn’t until I stood up on the bridge that I got to see how powerful people coming together could really be and what that really looked like.
To think that this is happening across the country and around the world is inspiring, I have faith that we’ll live to see equality in this lifetime.” — Flo Ngala (@FloNgala)
“Photograph from protests against police brutality on FDR, Manhattan May 30th, 2020.” — Kevin Claiborne (@KevinClaiborne)
“Tension was rising. The observer found a higher vantage point to view the protestors on the front lines.” — Jessica Foley (@Fauxly)
“During a peaceful protest in Philadelphia, I saw a man with his hands up inches from an officer's face. It was a very tense and eerily quiet standoff between two black men and the police.
The protestor in the foreground began tying his head wrap tightly around his head, seemingly preparing for a violent clash.” — Marcus Maddox (@Marcus.xoxo), “Face-off, Philadelphia, 2020”
"I had no idea there was a car in the middle of the street because there was so many people, and energy was peaking. When I bumped into it more or less, I tried to get as much space as I could to try and photograph the moment.
I knew immediately it felt like power and perseverance, especially on the first night of curfew." — Steve Irby (@Stevesweatpants)
“Nya, for my soul. 2019.” — Ronan Mckenzie (@Ronanksm)
“Portrait of anti-racist activist & creator of the Blue Eye / Brown Eye exercise, Jane Elliott. Photographed at her home in Riceville, Iowa in 2017.” — Christelle de Castro (@Christelle_Studio)
“This image was a collaboration between myself, Ibrahim Kamara and Tariq White. Tariq for me represents beautiful youth, curious, observant, playful... all the things that i attribute to be directly attuned to humanity (or in direct attendance with GOD if you will).
Not assigned to chapel ceilings, but a cherub of the 3rd millennium, protector and nurturer of expression in the digital age.” — Justin French (@FrenchGold)
“‘Malik’ was photographed in a Connecticut basement where Grier grew up.
This photo crystallizes the essence of growing up in Connecticut and the many basement parties Grier’s family would host, all the while exploring and documenting Malik's beauty and fluidity.” — Jeremy Grier (@JereGrier)
“Katrina and Nataki serve soft and fierce Vogue hands in East Baltimore.”
— Shan Wallace (@_YoShann)
“‘Dean’ is an important part of my series [sur]passing. I usually refer to his portrait as the cornerstone of the project. Once I captured this image, it led me on my way forward for the series.
I love the way he is framed by the Battersea Power station, in the background. He has such a fluid look about him, that his essence speaks to my entire body of work.” — Lola Flash (@Flash9)
“A portrait of my friend, Rashad, taken at the Underground Museum in Los Angeles, CA.” — Texas Isaiah (@KingTexas)
“Essential workers step outside to support a Black Lives Matter protest passing by.” — Mark Clennon (@Mark.C)
“While riding bikes with my husband in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica we kept passing this house and in my head I started to sing ‘love shack, that’s where it’s at.’
While setting up my camera to take the photo, a few baby goats appeared and took a shit while staring at me. I felt it was the best moment ever.” — Shaniqwa Jarvis (@SheeksWinsAlways)
“Taken Thursday June 11, 2020. A young woman raises her fist at a protest at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.” — Alex Hodor-Lee (@AlexHodorLee)
Below are the organizations receiving proceeds:
Black Trans Femmes In the Arts: The mission of the BTFA Collective is to connect the community of black trans women and non-binary femmes in the arts & to build power among ourselves. The BFTA Collective is also working closely with the Emergency Release Fund to bail out Black Trans women detained from protest.
Black Visions Collective: Black Visions Collective believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in the right relationship within our ecosystems.
Brooklyn Community Bail Fund: Brooklyn Community Bail Fund secures the freedom of New Yorkers who would otherwise be detained pretrial due to their poverty alone.
Center for Constitutional Rights: The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications.
Hetrick-Martin Institute: As the nation’s largest & oldest LGBTQ Youth service organization, Hetrick-Martin Institute provides living assistance academic, creative, & mental health mentorship for kids between the ages of 13-24.
Scope of Work: An organization that provides free mentorship and programming for underrepresented young people to establish a more inclusive creative ecosystem.
The Legal Aid Society: As the largest, most influential social justice law firm in New York City, the Legal Aid Society provides Civil, Criminal Defense, Juvenile Rights, and Pro Bono services to clients and works to dismantle the hidden, systemic barriers that can prevent them from thriving in New York City.
Michael B. Kelley is the head of audience development for Cashay sister-site Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBKelley.