The Wonder of You: Photos & Words by Black Girls & Women

This exhibition was curated as a surprise and affirmation for the girls participating in our 2018 Black Girl Image Maker Workshop at Center for Documentary Studies. Eleven stunning photographers answered our call, sharing images of Black girls and women they adore. Together, we created a space where girls could see reflections of themselves in both the beloved people in the images and the girls and women behind the lens.

This exhibition was curated with love by Jamaica Gilmer, TBP Founder/Executive Director and Khayla Deans, TBP Multi-Media Strategist with tremendous and laughter-filled support from Courtney Reid-Eaton, CDS Exhibitions Director and Ambria McNeill, 2017-18 CDS Exhibitions Intern. The exhibit will be on view at the Center for Documentary Studies through the end of the summer. The image featured above is by Jacqueline Perry, one of the artists in the exhibit and a Black Girl Image Maker Coach.

Featuring work by:

Kennedi Carter

Age: 19

Hometown: Durham, NC

Favorite Food: Mac n Cheese

Why do you love photography? I love photography because it gives me the ability to capture the beauty in people.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Black girls are beautiful. We are resilient, we are loving, and we are creative.

 

Trécii P. Cheeseboro


Age: 15

Hometown: Harlem / Manhattan NYC

Favorite Food: Thiebou Jen and Jasmine rice (African fish, with grilled onions and raw onions and rice)

Why do you love photography? I love photography, it helps one see beauty in the smallest of things. Photography teaches appreciation of the little things. You’re able to capture moments that could be long forgotten. You’re creating a time warp as well as freezing time.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Black girls are beautiful. Black girls are beautiful because of our strength, courage, passion, drive, motivation, and wisdom. Black girls are beautiful because we are warriors, champions, fighters,heroes, and soldiers. Black girls are beautiful because of our minds, because of our love, because of our hearts, because of our souls, and because of the skin we live in.

Morgan Crutchfield

Age: 28

Hometown: Durham, NC

Favorite Food: Pancakes

Why do you love photography? I love photography because it has brought so many people into my life. I have formed lifelong friends because I love photography. People let me into the most intimate moments in their lives and trust me to capture keepsakes that friends and family years from now will be able to relive; through a photo. Photography is kind of like art and magic at the same time. I can call myself a magician if I’m really in the mood and some do consider me an artist. I love what I do, it never feels like work.

Why are Black girls beautiful? We, black girls, are so beautiful because life is tough but we crush it with grace and humility. We are resilient, stay strong in our paths and lift one another up. The beauty of being a black woman is knowing the power you hold. Don’t ever forget about your power.

Dawn Michelle Downey

Age: 38

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Favorite Food: Pizza

Why do you love photography? I love photography because you can capture the essence of the subject, person or a still, and it will remain long after they’re gone.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Black girls are beautiful in all of our complexity. From the many different textures of our hair, down to the many different ways that we handle being out in the marketplace. From all of our different shades and complexions, to all of the different places from which we descended. There is beauty in all of our jambalaya!

Cathy Foreman

Age: 45

Hometown: Tillery, NC

Favorite Food: Linguine Vongole

Why do you love photography? Photography provides a physical and tangible means to a time that maybe your memory alone simply can’t reach.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Black girls are much more than beautiful. We are strong, innovative, adventurous, full of life and love and much more. We are made in all different shades which makes us rich unto ourselves. We are beautiful because of all we are and do.

 

Danielle Nolen

Age: 17

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Favorite Food: Cornbread

Why do you love photography? I love photography because it allows you to view things from someone else’s perspective.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Black girls are beautiful because we are so diverse! We are different shades, different sizes and shapes. We are unique and can do anything we put our mind to.

Jacqueline Perry

Age: 41

Hometown: originally from Salisbury, NC – but have lived in Raleigh for 20+ years

Favorite Food: doesn’t have a favorite food!

Why do you love photography? I love photography because it gives me the opportunity to capture a moment in time for someone. I feel like the right photo at the right time can tell a very powerful story.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Black girls are beautiful because of their joy, their strength, their ability to make the most of almost any situation. Black girls are beautiful because in them you can see a wide spectrum of skin tones, hair styles, emotions and personalities.

Courtney Reid-Eaton

Age: 59

Hometown: New York City, but lives in Durham

Favorite Food: Seafood – baked, broiled, grilled, fried or raw

Why do you love photography? Because it stops time.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Because they were made in the image of GOD.

 

 

 

Amber Carroll Santibanez

Age: 30

Hometown: Durham, NC

Favorite Food: Cereal

Why do you love photography? I found my voice through photography in the 9th grade after I was introduced to the book “Reflections in Black.” I fell in love with my skin and my hair after seeing the work of Lorna Simpson and Chester Higgins. The darkroom was a magical place. I would spend hours watching images appear. It was a powerful experience to know that I could manipulate images to show others how I saw the world.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Black girls are beautiful because they are powerful. They are the mothers of the human race. They are diverse. Their skin is smooth and rich. Their hair is magical, it has the ability to shape shift. They are resilient, nurturing, and strong.

Amaya Sam

Age: 14

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Favorite Food: Spaghetti

Why do you love photography? I love photography because it conveys your thoughts through images instead of words.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Black girls are beautiful because there isn’t one thing we haven’t done. I admire all the wonderful things that black girls have contributed to our society.

 

Dr. Deborah Willis

Age: over 60

Hometown: New York City

Favorite Food: North Carolina BBQ

Why do you love photography? The ability to tell visual stories excites me.

Why are Black girls beautiful? Maya is fun and curious and focused. I met her over three years ago and she captured my attention because of her excitement for talking about a range of topics and taking the photograph of her next to her books showed me the joy of reading is central to her.

 

Special thanks to the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, A Long Walk Home, Inc, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Junior Scholars Program, Southern Documentary Fund, NoVo Foundation, and William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.