Portfolio and Text by Isabel Zapata, Copyright 2017
Photography is an outlet unlike any other. There are no limits, no rules. There is no better method of communicating and expressing thought. Above everything else in my photography, my goal is to have fun. Explore new ideas. Capture real emotion. Get my models excited about my ideas and willing to do some crazy things. Without this class, I wouldn’t have had the drive and opportunity to really explore the farthest reaches of my conceptual thinking and creativity. Fashion photography has earned a near and dear place in my self-expression and my vision in sharing ideas with the world.
Photography and Text by Racquel Ward, Copyright 2017
THE 60’S ARE BACK
Washington D.C. expected 200,000 women and men to show up at the Women’s March last Saturday.Los Angeles expected far less. However, as I approached Perishing Square in downtown LA, the site was truly unprecedented. I weaved through the crowd and sighted women with their shirts off, men carrying signs to support their wives, children with peace signs painted across their faces and a host of characters that used this occasion to dress up in their most eccentric outfits for the sake of self-expression. People chanted and raised their arms. Many were crying and laughing. Some were engaged in political debate. Kids climbed on street posts to get a better view of the stage, and the MC exhilarated the crowd with anti-Trump rhetoric. The sky lit up with a sea of posters – many were funny and all spoke to the need for social justice.
As a millennial, I hadn’t experienced this type of march since the Bush era. My friends and I in New York City would take to the streets to protest the war in Iraq. This march felt different. As a child, my parents schooled me on what it was like to grow up in the 60’s and how people started a cultural revolution through uninhibited marches and protests with no fear and a message of peace. This felt like that. The Women’s March was not about protesting against a war. It was about speaking out, in sheer numbers, across the country and the world, against a man who seeks to go backward for the sake of power and privilege instead of move forward for the benefit of mankind. The 750,000 people who showed up in downtown Los Angeles showed me that this is not a one-off march. This is the start of a cultural revolution. I am grateful to be part of it and to be counted as 750,001.
About The Author: Racquel Ward is a writer and educational therapist living in Los Angeles. She holds a BA in Culture and Media studies and a BFA in Contemporary Music from the New School University – Manhattan, New York. Racquel also holds a Master’s of Science in Teaching. She has been published on ThoughtCatalog and most recently finished her first children’s book.
I didn’t see THE speech. I read the TRANSCRIPT. And, I thought I’d just shrug and roll my eyes as I read it. But, then it happened!
“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” – President Donald J. Trump, Inaugural Address
As my eyes skimmed the text of his speech, I figured there was probably nothing really new in this man’s spiel. But, then, this one line ‘whistled’, or should I say ‘dog blared’ out to me. Seems like it could have been just a toss away line that he decided to use. But, then again, he waltzes with that dark right with the greatest of ease; as Steve Bannon probably sprinkled this line into his ear to add to that speech.
I think Mr. Orange in the Oval Office is playing verbal jujitsu with implying that if you open your heart to loving this country, of course there would be no feelings of hatred towards those who you consider the ‘other’. He ran a campaign drenched in the venomous swamp of disdain and ridicule. This isn’t Men In Black and Trump can’t turn on a machine to make us all forget the hell of his own words and actions of the past months. He ain’t gonna get off that easy. He’s going to have to have a ‘come to the mirror of his own past sins’ moment and have to take responsibility for it. He can’t hide behind President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s graciousness or even some kind of religiously cloaked desire to have every man woman, and child in America gather round the flag pole of his own making so that he’ll be made to feel that adulation he craves most.
Oh no he didn’t, thinking that brotherhood could be slapped together like a Coke and a smile would come like a sprinkle of stardust! No! No! No! Not so easy, Mr. Newly Minted President of the United States; that decadent dessert which you may see as a steaming fresh of plush apples and sweetness, seen in the view of different eyes of other Americans as a festering stew of arrogance’s acidity and heartbreaking strange fruit.
So, he better take a page from the Isley Brothers, cuz’ he’s got WORK TO DO!! (If he wants to bring us all together)
Recently, my lover and I had a teachable moment. On our block we were pulled over by the police. Kay was driving and she seemed to act a bit slow, not thinking we were the car chosen to be pulled over. I said slowly pull over and we will wait. The officer did his job. We have had a crack down in my neighborhood and a gentrification on going. The police presence is high as it should be.
The officer asked for License and Registration. Kay was a bit nervous I was not, because I’m a black man a few block from my home. I told the officer I was reaching for my readers from my pocket to assist her in finding the registration. He took the items, went back to the patrol car, Kay was nervous at this point. I calmed her down by saying they are doing their job we will let them do their job and you are white, forget about it! The stop lasted a few moments. No ticket was issued. I thanked the officer for the stepped up patrol. I told the officer I lived on the block where the young man was shot in the head in his car. He knew where my home was. I told him we had talked to our Council Woman: Debbie Rose, whom my Mother knows. They agreed, relief came across his face. When we did got home I told Kay welcome to being Black in America. She took a minute to relax. I was not phased by the interaction.
We are living thru a crack down, on Vanderbilt Ave in SI & the North shore of the island. My Mother has lived in this house for 40+ years, and paid for it on her own. The sound of gun fire in the hood, a block away was unsettling and disappointing a year and a half ago.. I want protection as a home owner. This is why we pay taxes. I never felt threatened or dis-respected that evening. It was a pleasant exchange. Because I know the techniques of survival in America an as a Black Man! Stay still, be pleasant and do not get out of your damn car. Answer the questions asked and go on your way. I don’t really drive much any more. I have a white female driver to lessen the chances of getting stopped, oh well.
Now Miss K knows as well. As my Mother told her. Welcome to the ghetto! Within three years, the property values have sky rocketed. The neighborhood has grown very quiet. There are restaurants and cafes. Hipsters and all kinda folks. Homes for sale & selling fast. This is modern Staten Island in 2017. The apartment buildings across the street, grew dark this past Summer. They were sold for a large sum. Renovated and emptied as folks moved out of the back of the buildings. I am sorry there is no more Section 8 and the buildings, bought and emptied. If you don’t or can’t pay your rent. You must find other lodging. I had a tenant. Same result we had to go to court and they had to leave. The apartment was recked. I had to renovate. I understand change. It has touched everywhere I have lived in NYC. Harlem, Brooklyn & Queens. I was born in Brooklyn, can’t afford a ham and cheese sandwich in Brooklyn now or a cup of JOE. Anyway, there was no need to get shot going home from a nice meal on The Rock, The Island of Staten!
About The Author: Kevin Stewart, aka Professor Badass is a seasoned old school shirtmaker/designer based on Staten Island, New York. Mr. Stewart will be launching a new line of menswear in 2017.
Portrait of Kevin Stewart by Tony Ward, Copyright 2017