In late 2015 this photography series was created, like me, under a different name. And, after a period of thought and reflection, I've decided to change it from Black Femme Magic to An Archive of Softness. My inspirations have changed over the years but the seed that this project has blossomed into was always there.
I met Sydney Daviston outside of a large American military base in Itaewon, Seoul. We walked away from bustling streets and explored the quieter alleys. A post on a Seoul artist Facebook group connected us. Sydney felt that "most of the 'representation' we have is negative and even harmful, so I wanted to see more positive and badass examples of black women and femmes." At its core, my photo series has always been about changing the visual language around marginalized and under represented people. Fashion photography is the lens through which my models and I fight back against their absence and vilification in the media.
Issues of representation take on even more complex dimensions as a black person living abroad. Sydney and I talked about what it was like in Japan versus Korea. She said of her own experience, "Although I love living in Korea, this country still has a long way to go. Korea is known for having the best and fastest internet in the world, and you'd think that would mean something, but blackface and racially ignorant and insensitive (and flat out WRONG) portrayals of black people are still commonplace in Korean entertainment."
Ideas around blackness take on a more myopic form in places without racial diversity. So a population with a multiplicity of identities becomes flattened into a few stock characters. My Archive of Softness pushes against the compression.
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