What We're Reading: A New California Center Is Building a Legacy of Black Photographers

"For the group of young Black photographers who founded The Black Image Center, a collective turned 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Los Angeles, COVID-19 allowed time to think deeply about a space where Black artists can come to stimulate their imaginations through photography, and one that can provide resources for their economic empowerment," said Joshua Oduga for Hyperallergic. "Kalena Yiaueki, Maya Mansour, Zamar Velez, Haleigh Nickerson, Samone Kidane, and Michael Tyrone Delaney, who all have diverse backgrounds within the field of photography, came together digitally during the pandemic. The Black Image Center opened in Culver City’s arts district in early 2022."

"The collaborative nature of The Black Image Center was an important aspect of their work from the beginning. The collective’s first major project was a collaboration with artist ​​Hank Willis Thomas’s organization For Freedoms. The two organizations worked together in fall of 2021 on The Black Family Archive, a weekend-long pop-up to celebrate the Black history of LA’s Leimert Park neighborhood and the power of establishing a space for memory, legacy, and family. Attendees brought in family photos for consultations on their conservation. Digitization and printing were offered, and a free film fridge was available throughout the weekend to encourage the community to engage with photography. The event was centered around a mural by artist Adee Roberson, who draws on an extensive archive of family photos, dating back to childhood, to create art."

"Currently The Black Image Center is hosting workshops, such as a recent one on community quilting. The resulting quilt, an homage to community, was created by artist Kern Samuel at the center, along with community members of all ages, including artists, local families, and members of The Black Image Center team, and it hangs in the space. There are also plans for camera cleaning and inspection workshops, and the center has launched a free studio day program — offering space to Black image makers in need of a place to create."

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