Photo Exhibit: As We Rise

Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted about my day trip to Salem. Strolling around the city during the holiday season and enjoying a local cafe.

The reason for the trip was to see the photography exhibit, As We Rise, before it left the Peabody Essex Museum. It was wonderful and I’m so glad that I got to see it before it ended on December 31st. The description of the exhibit on the website truly intrigued me.

“Explore Black identity through a compelling compilation of photographs from African diasporic culture. Drawn from Dr. Kenneth Montague’s Wedge Collection in Toronto, a Black-owned collection dedicated to artists of African descent, As We Rise looks at the myriad experiences of Black life through the lenses of community, identity and power.

Organized by Aperture, New York, the exhibition features more than 100 works by Black artists from Canada, the Caribbean, Great Britain, the United States and South America, as well as throughout the African continent. Black subjects depicted by Black photographers are presented as they wish to be seen , recognizing the complex strength, beauty and vulnerability of Black life.”

The exhibit shows ordinary Black people living their lives and reminded me of my own family photos. The exhibit acknowledges the importance of these pictures. Yes, we as a people have been through a lot. There has been struggle. And the struggle continues.

But we are just like any other people. We live our daily lives and have families and friends. We take pride in our work.
We enjoy the simple things and glamour. We are bold and beautiful.


It feels wonderful to see these people just being themselves and living their lives, just like me. It means something to see oneself, depicted in this way. It means something to see oneself portrayed at all. To show that we existed and continue to exist. And that we will exist.

I remember as a kid watching TV shows like Star Trek and being happy that there were Black people in the future. To a certain extent, it’s silly. It wasn’t real. Even so, it mattered.

The text in the picture above, “Identity as Seeing Ourselves” resonates with me in a similar way.

“These photographs are not only about seeing ourselves and our place in the world, but also picturing where we are going.”

This picture above, which represents refusal, is quite interesting. Not something I would display at home. But I like the idea of us as a people being able to have control over whether we are seen or not and how we choose to be seen.

And last, but not least, As We Rise shows Black people at rest and leisure. I loved this portion so much! What’s the point of life if not to enjoy ourselves and relax at least some of the time? Have we not toiled enough?!

An Instagram post by The Nap Ministry for the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says it best.

“The teachings of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have been a North Star in my life since I was in elementary school and obsessively wrote every paper for any class on him until college. I’ve read everything he has written and his work grounds my ethos as a Black Liberation Theologian. As the country honors his legacy and celebrates his birthday, I am deep in meditation about leisure for Black People.

Leisure and the right to simply exist without the constant weight of having to be a tool for production is something Black people have been denied for centuries. It is our divine right to simply be and embody leisure as a human right. These photos of MLK, Jr. on vacation in Jamaica in 1965 are a balm and deep breathing. Radical inspiration for our rest practices. We Will Rest!!”

Quincy: Then & Now

Have you taken a look at some of the old pictures of Massachusetts available online? Digital Commonwealth is a treasure.

If you’re familiar with Quincy at all, you’ve probably been at this intersection in Wollaston. You’d be standing on Newport Avenue looking at Grandview Avenue on the left and Beale Street on the right.

I found the lower picture in the Quincy postcard collection, dated from 1903 – 1976. That’s quite a range of years, but based on the car on the right, I’m guessing it’s from the 1910s or 1920s. Maybe 1918?

As soon as I saw the old picture, I knew I had to take a new picture to compare it with. The upper picture I took this past week. Quite a difference! But you can definitely see that it’s the same place. Just about one hundred years apart. Pretty amazing.

It was shocking to see that the building on the right used to be a drug store. I think it’s a fabric store now.

Grandview used to be a dirt road and now so many trees have grown that it’s hard to see the house behind them. Also, it looks like it was a two-way street. Now it’s one-way. There were no traffic lights back then and way less cars.

What a difference a century makes! Wonder what it will look like in 2118?

 

Sunday Morning at Wollaston Beach

Collage of six pictures, sandy beach with water, sea grass, a book with travel mug, a hand holding an egg sandwich, feet with grey sneakers over the sand.I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’d like to spend my summer mornings.

In my fantasy life, I would sit on the front porch, back deck or balcony sipping my coffee, eating my breakfast and reading a good book.

In my real life, I don’t have a front porch, back deck or balcony. But I have to be grateful for what I have and work with what I’ve got.

Wollaston Beach is just a five minute drive from me. So I started thinking. Why don’t I just make my breakfast and bring it to the beach? So I made a spinach, kale, fried egg, Parmesan cheese sandwich with rosemary and olive oil flatbread.

Then I made my coffee and used my What Would Olivia Pope Do? travel mug. It makes me wildly happy. The little things! I put on my favorite sneakers and headed out the door.

The salty beach air smelled wonderful. I mostly ignored a few ants. After all, I was in their territory. And I really enjoyed my breakfast and reading my book.

It was a nice start to my day and I enjoyed taking a few pictures while I was out there. Since I started blogging, I stopped keeping a regular diary. Instead I keep a notebook with goals, random thoughts and things that I want to remember.

Instagram is slowly becoming a daily diary of sorts. Not that I’m sharing my deepest feelings and thoughts. But I am documenting my life and being mindful of all that I have to be grateful for.

Sky Photo Project ~ May 19, 2017

Three picture collage, each with blue sky and clouds.

For my Sky Photo Project, I’ve mostly been taking one picture a day.

This past Friday, as I was walking home from the train, I took a picture. I noticed the clouds and light looked different even just a few feet away. So I took a couple more pictures — all within five minutes.

Nothing earth shattering. Just some blue sky and clouds. But it made me happy.