My name is Nayomi Cawthorne and I am a photography student in Washington state. My work is always trying to recreate the photographic experience as a non-static one. I try to walk/blur the line between documentary and art photography and use my photos to question black identity in the media, gender/femininity, travel photography, and the kitsch. My goal as a photographer is to create photographs that require us to reflect on the power of the image.
My photo blog is: ncawthornephoto.tumblr.com
Open Letter to All of My Facebook Friends That Are Around My Age
Imagine, for a moment, that we are all in the same boat.
We’re all young, out on the open waters with just the scribbled notes that our parents and grandparents left us but weren’t written in waterproof ink so each time we try to read them during a storm the ink washes away and the paper is compromised.
On this boat a few of the people start to form groups. Some manage, some make arrangements for the stops, some cook, some wash clothes. At this point, you’re unsure if everyone had notes from their parents and grandparents because yours warned against certain things that you see other people doing but sometimes it seems like they are enjoying life more than you are with your crumpled advice.
Keep imagining that one day, one day you’ll work up the nerve to hang out with them. To stop hanging out with your group on this boat because they aren’t what you think they should be. And one day, you have worked the nerve enough to the point that it can’t handle being worked anymore so you walk to the stern of the boat and sit with those kids you think are so cool and you learn and you laugh and you cry and you did it.
Stop dreaming. Know that if you are aware and sensitive you can find everything that you need in this life. Know that you aren’t on an isolated boat, you’re on land and sometimes it is that simple to walk over and sit down in the chair you want to be in. I’m not talking meritocracy I’m talking personal fulfillment, enjoyment, value to you. Know that you are loved if not by ones that are close to you then by me, then by all of us who think of those who think like us and think that we’d like to be somewhere other than we are. That we need to be and that we will be with hard work, with enthusiasm, with patience, and with kindness. Because we don’t stop thinking about everyone, we remember them we reach out to them we help them.
This is all such a rant but it makes sense to me probably because I needed to hear it.
I cannot stop with this beautiful song.
Fine Artist/Illustrator Loïs Mailou Jones featured in 1936 documentary, A Study of Negro Artists.
You can view more of Jones’s work, including the textile design she is holding, at the Loïs Mailou Jones website
My good friend made this animation and I really love it. Take a look and enjoy.
The Nonlinear Routine
My life feels hectic. Not because I have a lot of places to be in the day but mostly because I feel as though I have a lot to do. What I have to do is work that can’t be done here, now, can’t be checked off a list can’t be given credit for can’t be validated immediately and isn’t easy. What I have to do can be crippling—I scare myself sometimes because I realize that I have somehow recognized a very large purpose for myself and truly can’t tell if it’s my own invention or if it’s been given to me. What I have to do is shapeless, there aren’t guides, aren’t exact examples, no evidence reason logic history that would presuppose what it is that I feel needs to be done.
How can I ask for help when I don’t even know where I’m trying to get?
In the midst of my hectic feelings I look to my peers, take one step at a time, and learn to trust and take steps back and open myself. Though I honor and and inspired by those who have lived before me, the people that I see daily that are my age or near it and working towards what they need to do are what maintains my growth. And I thank them daily.
Work, work, work(ing). On myself, on our shared experience, and I know it can be done.