Conceptual - NOMINEE: Danielle Young
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BLACK: is my first photo series that focuses on Black women. To be a black woman means to be seen, but also be invisible. With this body of work I explore black womanhood, black femininity, black women, and the relationship we have amongst ourselves, but also with society. Our bodies are not our own. We do not control the narrative. What does it mean to be in a world that hates our existence, what it does it mean to be both black and woman? I use light and shadow, color, or the lack there of, to facilitate and help shape the ever changing narrative of the experience of the black woman with my model. This is how we want to be seen, ignoring and putting aside what the audience may think.Especially the white gaze. Too often, black artists create with having the pressure of wondering how their white audience may understand their work. I created these images for myself and black women. These images have their own authority of meaning regardless of what meaning is placed onto them. With BLACK:, I want push my audience out of the realm of what they know, or what they think they know, to force them to answer the following questions: What is black womanhood, what is black femininity? And most importantly, who are black women? Black women are more than what society projects as the norm. There is much more depth and richness to us and I believe that this project is contributing to the larger narrative that is being taken back and being rewritten by black women. Our stories are always the last ones told and even if they are being told, more often times than not, black women are not the ones piloting the story.
Danielle Young is an Omaha native studying at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Her current body of work focuses on black women, black woman hood, and the black woman experience. In recent months, she has been studying other black artists to help her guide her through her newest body of work, which was ultimately inspired by the infamous Lorna Simpson. Young’s goal is to have a collaboration between model and herself to begin to tell the narrative that is so often told by others. The audience is the viewer, eavesdropping on a conversation. While it is impossible to control how her audience receives the images, Young is more concerned about the meanings and stories that the images themselves carry and not so much the audience. Young hopes to expand this body during the summer and beyond, including all black women in the tradition of telling stories through photographs.