Then, an opportunity I never could’ve imagined arrived in my inbox.
There I was sitting Crisscrossed apple sauce on the front row listening to Ms. Cunniff read to a room full of thoughtful second graders. She read each character with their unique voiceovers, showing us every picture; our eyes stayed glued to examine these peculiar characters. At that moment, planted in the soil of my soul was my love for storytelling. It was the feeling of experiencing an experience that captivated me. I recall being at home as I kid, sitting in the living, looking through family photo albums, and just staring at these images. I was in disbelief that people were on this little piece of paper without falling off! On the back were dates and the names of those in the photo. Again, planted in the soil of my soul was the love of storytelling. These photos created the experience of nostalgia; oh, what a feeling!
As kids, my siblings and I always performed Motown classics for our family. We watched tons of movies, which, for me, illuminated my sense of humor and imagination.
In high school, I begged my family for a camera to document the little things that caught my eye. My family was able to get me a silver Kodak point and shoot camera; this was around 2006 when boys my age asked their parents for Nike Air Force ones and if they could go to house parties. I was more interested in art and the experience of nostalgia. I remember enrolling in a graphics communication class to learn more about photography, film, and using editing Softwares. I submerged myself in several different mediums to sample all forms of creativity. But I came to a roadblock. I noticed I didn’t enjoy sketching as much as I did photography, and I decided to shelf-it for a while, a long while.
When I enrolled in college, I took various photography classes to deepen my knowledge of storytelling. My reasoning to capture spaces, places, and faces grew tremendously. I received an email from my photography professor, Terri Cummings, and she saw a video floating around our campus of me stating how I would love to be a travel photographer. She emails me, asking if I’d be interested in studying abroad in Europe?
I immediately told my mother about the news. I remember being excited for several things growing up, and like clockwork, something always seemed to “come up” or “do you think we can do it next time?” I prepared my heart for the inevitable normalcy. But my mother, determined to send her middle child across the water, did what many black mothers did-hustled! And of course, what happened next made my stomach sink. [Part two is coming soon!]