“Penetrable" means to allow to come through. It's also an immersion sculpture by Luis Perez-Oramas. I came across it on my birthday week retreat in Upstate New York and it instantly was symbolic for me. As I was sitting inside the sculpture, I watched the sun-lit tubes sway in the wind reflecting a golden tinge and it allowed for this self-reflective moment. I was curious to see through myself.
For most of my life I've chosen apathy because it was “easier" to close off from pain instead of embracing it. However what I’ve come to learn and understand is that in a life dedicated to serving art and people, apathy has no place. It is in releasing apathy and becoming “penetrable” so to speak, that I am able to capture the beauty of truth through my lens. There is a moment in our joint history, that I've had the honor of capturing with grace and vulnerability. I carry a piece of most of you who are reading this as you have contributed directly to my accomplishing so much in my decade of work in New York City:
I trained to become a triple threat: photographer, editor and cinematographer through training how to become a dancer under the mentorship and guidance of H+ | Founder and Artistic Director Safi A. Thomas. Together we created a technique to uniquely capture moments, emotions, that transcend beyond our perceived limitation, i.e "Tranche De Vie".
I was appointed as the first Resident Photographer of H+ | The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory.
I was provided my own division in H+ called AK47 Division.
I’ve been a visionary in building powerful campaigns for women’s empowerment and dancer empowerment.
I've received opportunities to be a photographer in Hip-Hop as a young, White, female.
I've had the privilege of being published in the New York Times, the Village Voice and Dance Magazine.
I've worked with prestigious companies like Adidas, L'Oreal, Moroccan Oil, Pastries Shoes and Kaporal Jeans.
I've photographed The Bessies Awards, the prestigious dance award for six years.
I’ve photographed all genres of dance from tap to ballet featuring some of the most respected companies like Stephen Petronio, Joffrey Ballet, Michelle Dorrance, Jason Samuels Smith and many others.
But at the end of the day, I don't want my amazing career to be self-celebratory.
I want us to unite and to build a more supportive environment in the photography field and restore the balance in gender equality.
As a photographer and filmmaker my first inspiration came from the Pirelli calendar. I loved Patrick Demarchelier and Tim Walker, Wong Car Wai, Kim Ki-Duk, Jim Jarmusch, Stanley Kubrick. But I was impacted greatly by the lack of female representation in our field.
What did it mean to be a female photographer and a filmmaker?
'Til this day I still get comments and jokes on how “cute" I look with my equipment. I’m often questioned about whether I'm a student because of how young I look. Thankfully with the support of my colleagues and the education that I've received at H+, I didn't allow that to stop me in my career pursuit. However, I know for a lot of women, they feel like they don’t have a choice on whether to succumb to such prejudices.
I have a plan to contribute to the solution. As H+ in an NGO, I am personally and professionally committing to the UN's Sustainable Development Goal #5 of Gender Equality! I will mentor women and help them not only to become amazing professionals but also strong leaders!
To do this, I'm releasing an EXCLUSIVE photo collection to celebrate my birthday with ALL OF YOU, to fund this initiative via UN SDG #5. Classic, iconic, images printed and collected for your enjoyment is a gift to yourself on my birthday! All the proceeds will go towards equipment and space for H+ | AK47 Division. We need computers, cameras, sound recording system, tripods, drones and most importantly, your SUPPORT to make this happen for me and all the young media specialists I will mentor!
I am very grateful for the path I've had so far and I believe in a brighter future if we come together. I wouldn't be able to do this alone and I appreciate all of your support!
Welcome to the #Penetrable Campaign.
To being “Penetrable"!