[INTERVIEW] JUSTIN SMITH

Age: 28

Where do you live?
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

What previous work have you been involved with?
I work as an in-house photographer at an advertising agency and shoot freelance photo journalism on the side.

What do you shoot on?
I shoot on a Leica Q.

What do you like to shoot?
I try and shoot natural portraits and I also like in the moment events.

Where did you capture the Black Lives Matter series of photographs?
This series was photographed at the corner of Trade and Tryon in Uptown, Charlotte.

Did you look to any other photographers for inspiration?
I more so follow and admire a few. Mostly street shooters in NY.

What was the catalyst in photographing the movement?
I just knew the negative onslaught that was going to be displayed from the media. I wanted to do my part in showing it differently and correctly.

What is your personal relationship with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement?
I stand alongside. I’m a white male, I don’t understand the problems that they deal with on a personal level but I see them. I want to do my part and stand in solidarity.

Do you feel that you captured the reality effectively?
It was an emotional protest. I just showcased what I saw.

How did you feel when taking the photos, in such an emotionally charged situation?
I was nervous. Only because I didn’t know how the police would act.

What did you learn from the experience?
I wish I could have stayed around through the night. I have two little boys who needed their father at home.

Where do you place photography in activism?
It’s documentation, evidence. It’s needed to show what is really going on.

Do you feel that your photos play a key role in this movement?
No, not at all. The peoples voices that need to be heard, being heard is the key role in this movement.

How do you feel about the perspective of your photographs compared with mainstream media?
I showcased what I saw, and what happened. Not some fictitious“THOSE ANGRY BLACK FOLKS ARE RIOTING AND DESTROYING A TOWN” bullshit media rating ploy.

Instagram: @basicwild
Website: Basic Wild

 

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