S K I N by Nick Branch | #FotoFriday
Or more like #FotographerFriday. Or even #FotoProjectFriday.
Or #StirThePotFriday. The possibilities are endless, really. From the Project Statement page:
Skin color has many different levels of symbolism for African Americans, and there exists a preponderance of colloquial terms used to describe their various shades of skin. These terms include skillet blonde, coal black, tar baby, and blue-black to describe dark skin; and red, red bone, high yellow, and light bright to describe light skin.
The purpose of the photo study was to examine the role of skin color (i.e., lightness- darkness), as it pertains to racial identity development theory and self-esteem among 100 Black people of various skin colors. The significant role that skin color plays in the lives of Blacks has been debated in the social-science literature for over 60 years. Historical and contemporary literature reveals that the skin color of African Americans has exerted powerful and persistent influences on societal attitudes toward and treatment of Blacks, within both White and Black cultures.
This project was brought to my attention by the the photographer himself. Last week, I got notification that I had a message waiting for me on ModelMayhem (I'll make no apologies, thankyouverymuch). That was interesting in and of itself, because I rarely, if ever, log in to my profile there anymore. I clicked through to an interesting email - a headshot photographer named Nick Branch was interested in including me in his portraiture series exploring attitudes about skin color among Black people in America.
My reaction: "Aw hell yeah, this gon' be good!" That reaction took place in my head, by the way. I know how to act in public, I'll have you know.
I had my sitting just a couple days ago, followed by a recorded interview where we had a very in-depth, very honest conversation about the reactions both Black and White people have to my skin color, my feelings about it, when I first became aware of the meaning of what my skin color meant, the prevailing stereotypes associated with which shades of brown, etc. You name it, we went there. If you'd like to take a listen to the interviews he's held so far, visit this page. My sitting and interview haven't been posted yet, but here's a preview of my face.