This is my best friend Andrea C. Mclean (Drea), she’s an activist and community organizer in Newark, NJ. She’s starting a new business called Pinetart, tasked with educating and encouraging creative entrepreneurs of color on wellness and healing.
The idea behind this shoot was inspired by the cover art of Big L’s solo debut album, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, taken by Danny Clinch. Clinch wanted to capture Big L on his home turf, because of how significant it was to his identity as an artist. I wanted to do the same with Drea; She has been at the center of many of her artist friends’ professional careers, as she helped them navigate through business opportunities and helped them to gain access to the resources they needed.
Drea has expressed the ups and downs of her career thus far; and as one of the creative entrepreneurs she seeks to uplift, I have front row seating to the craziness that can be her life, and I wanted to capture that craziness and reinterpret it as creative energy, in which Drea is often at the center of. With Drea standing ever so still, she maintains a sense of awareness above all that’s happening around her; she’s in control and at the center.
Admittedly I was incredibly nervous about doing this shoot, even though it was my idea, I had never done anything this experimental before with my photography. It sounded simple enough though, longer shutter speed equals motion blur, the smaller the aperture the less light you let in. But then there are ND filters, which I have little experience with, AND I was working with Illford’s new Ortho Plus 80 film, so I had absolutely no idea how any of this was going to turn out, but as it turns out, I managed.
The blurred individuals in the fore/background of these photos are all part of Drea’s family of artists. There’s a recording artist, a fashion designer, a craftsman, an educator, a painter, a photographer (me), and an interior designer– all based in Newark.