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Many of my post may be filled with typos, ignorant statements, untruths, bad English, & anything else that may make me appear to be uneducated. Please note: all of these things combined make my Blog the perfect one, because you know I have issues & I am not ashamed. With this said; enjoy, fuck mistakes & read between the lines!

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Archive for the 'Empowerment' Category

Working With A Sheroe: Alice Walker

Author: Tafari, Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 7:20 PM

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Last week, I was contacted to photograph one of my favorite artists… ALICE WALKER. Needless to say, I was very excited & totally looking forward to the opportunity. Fast forward to the day of the event… I woke up feeling very bad, horrible, like death was upon me. It was strange because it just hit me out of nowhere. How could this be happening on such a big day…. It took a while to pull myself together and I rushed to get out of the door with all kinds of bags in tow only feeling slightly better…. Now..., I’m on the job setting up my camera and guess what… I left all of my memory cards at home. BUMMER… What was I going to do at the last minute other than panic. Then I noticed that I had another camera in my bag, which hadn’t been used in at least 2 years and it had a memory card ready to go for… A much needed surprise!!!! After all of this Ms. Walker entered the room and I was awestruck but composed… I introduced myself & sucked in as much as I could from her. Bygbaby.com Mindspill I’ll cherish this exchange forever: Me: Ms. Walker, give me a little more leg. Ms. Walker: Just one moment. (Positions leg and lifts skirt a little) In response to her creative process... "I don't allow anything into my mental and spiritual space that I don't want." In response to what she thinks the Black community needs... “The Black community needs more imagination.” “Turn off your TV and the images that tell you who you are and what you should be.” “Hang on to your books. All of your books.” Interesting Alice Walker Fact: The first thing Alice Walker saw on television was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. being arrested. Yesterday was everything I needed as a person & as an artist! And I got my book signed. Ha! The little things in life.

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2012: My Retrospective

Author: Tafari, Monday, December 31st, 2012 at 2:02 PM

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2012 was a bitch & my boo at the same damn time! Here are my top 10 highlights:
  • Hearing my sweet baby Amelia tell me that she missed & loved me after not seeing each other for 8 months.
  • Finalization of my divorce & My EPIC "The Ring Didn't Mean a Thing" divorce party.
  • College graduation & party. The party & the morning after was some of the sexiest shit ever.
  • My trip to Los Angeles: Having Lunch with my boo, Los Angelista at the La Brea Tar Pits: Having lunch with my boo, Ayanna at the Getty, Brunching with my boo, Thembi at Taste, Riding around & getting it with my niggas, Marcel & Asia, ya bish & of course the LA Sip & See at Lola's with all of my west coast family...
  • Traipsing around Brooklyn with Cousin Dee & landing in Hotel Delano.
  • Listening to Kendrick Lamar's "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" album for the 1st time.
  • Making the New York Times Style section.
  • My parrot, Tongi laying 4 eggs.
  • Being surrounded by love & support from my great friends and family.
  • Re-connecting with my big cousin Danny.
Hit up my favorite portraits from the year..... [gallery columns="3" ids="5679,5680,5681,5682,5683,5678,5684,5687,5685,5686" orderby="rand"]

Tafari: On Living Free

Author: Tafari, Thursday, July 12th, 2012 at 6:44 PM

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"In our possessive coupling So much could not be expressed So now I'm returning to myself These things that you and I suppressed..."
Hejira by Joni Mitchell ~ 1976 ---------------------------------------------------------------- These days, I'm living life on my own terms; freely, in peace, loved, free of poison, and of course as a style icon. I'm almost single, dammit!

African Men: Hollywood Stereotypes

Author: Tafari, Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 10:30 AM
This video is AWESOME!!!

Activism. Leadership. History.

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at 12:58 AM

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This morning, I had the opportunity to witness Michele Norris of NPR’s "All Things Considered" give a keynote presentation at the University of Michigan’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium. I do not know Michele, did not know what she looked like until about 6 years ago but I have loved her for the last 12+ years.  It is that voice… The magic of radio. Her interesting since of humor. How she processes and conveys information to her audience. I love it all. When I learned that she was taking a break from "All Things Considered" during this election cycle, I was bummed…. Like really. So when I saw that she was going to be in my area, I KNEW that I would be there…. As usual, I was running late & got to the address just as it was starting. When Michele hit the stage, I actually closed my eyes for a while. It was like some kind of large live NPR episode. Kinda nerdy of me but you know how I do. Her talk centered around activism, leadership & history. She told several family stories about her father and grandmother that were penetrating. She shared with us how her grandmother used to dress as Aunt Jemima and travel throughout the Midwest doing pancake demonstrations. She told us how in 1946 her father was attacked and shot by the police before being jailed in Birmingham after coming back from war. And much more! The jarring thing about the stories is that she did not learn of much of her family history until her father and grandmother had passed. She linked this to “ The Grace of Silence.” Why be silent? Can silence breed a form of activism? Does this change the dynamic of family secrets? Forbidden information??? Additionally, throughout her talk, she dropped tons of historic knowledge tied to the civil rights era & before. She mentioned Isaac Woodard, Timothy Hood, The Boswell Amendment, Smith v. Allwright, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last meal of catfish & hush puppies... After the presentation, the audience was presented with "race cards" where we were encouraged to discuss race in six words or less. I was pretty excited about having some race cards that I could play at will. Michele’s presentation overall was a great way to kickoff my day. I mean, it was a very good day. Spent time with friends, had a good dinner & got a new graphic design project. This MLK Day, I stayed winning.

One Man One Photo Everyday

Author: Tafari, Thursday, January 12th, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Many of my photographer friends have done or attempted to do a 365 project. Oh, a 365 project is where you do a photo a day. Sometimes, the project may entail a self-portrait once a day. I could never take this on because; I’m just too lazy & can't commit to anything long term. I just can’t! When I learned about Jeff Harris’ photo a day project that has been up & running since 1999 I said WOW… When I saw the photos, I was intrigued. Actually fascinated. Have a look yourself to see what I’m talking about. Be warned, there are a few shocking images in the slideshow from his bout with cancer (neurofibrosarcoma). On a related note, some of the backstory on Jeff;'s cancer battle can be read about here...

70’s Inspiration

Author: Tafari, Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 10:51 PM
If this song doesn't make you happy, dance, or do a disco spin then you have some issues in your head!

Talking With No Voice

Author: Tafari, Monday, October 10th, 2011 at 12:46 AM

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Yesterday, I had a senior portrait session downtown Detroit.  Days leading up to the session, I was dreading the worse because I was not sick but something was up with my throat leaving me unable to talk off & on. My voice sounded horrible but I felt no pain. Seems like since I got that flu shot, I've been having all kinds of body drama. I'm just saying. Saturday, I met with friends and at the end of the night, my voice was GONE.  I woke up Sunday & the voice was still GONE but  I was not going to cancel my session because I could not talk! I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through but I was going to make it happen. At the beginning of the session, I let the clients know that I was going to be doing a lot of whispering. It was actually kind of funny. I made it through the session with nothing vocally to spare. I joked on Facebook that I whispered through my photo session like it was a Ying Yang twins video. Yeah, I got jokes! On the way home, I was at a stoplight telling myself that I was not going to talk for the next few days to let my throat rest. Also, while at the light, I noticed this uniquely Detroit liquor store sign. The sign actually made me smile for some unknown reason. Maybe it was the colors. Maybe because the sign was lit but it was in a vacant lot. Anyway, I still cannot talk. Dammit!

Purple Afropunk Beauty

Author: Tafari, Saturday, August 27th, 2011 at 1:30 PM

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So, I'm posting this from NYC in the wake of hurricane Irene. Im hoping that Im able to get home by Tuesday night. I really am.... Stay tuned! --------------------- Last weekend, I had an idea to photograph Black women with natural hairstyles in Detroit for a mini interview project. I set out with all of the best intentions of getting 10 interviews done in one day but my plans fell apart before my very eyes. I start too many things, juggle them well for a while and then run out of steam (not to say that I'm a great starter & non-finisher) So... I'm mentally sidelining this project for now because I, well... Ummmm.... I'm way to busy now. 2 weddings coming up, 2 portrait sessions, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week & the new school semester starts next Wednesday. Whoa!!!! In the meantime, I'd like to introduce you to Natural Di'saster, who visited Detroit from Bowling Green, OH last weekend. It was hard not to notice this Afropunk chick rocking a perfectly purple shaved Mohawk. Natural runs an organization named "urban nu-sense" which was founded in 2007 to provide an opportunity for the creation and celebration of urban art forms in and around the Bowling Green, Ohio. urban nu-sense works to incorporate social awareness and revolutionary movement in the mix, encouraging people to THINK while observing, creating and celebrating urban art forms such as spoken word, poetry, film, hip hop, street and ethnic dance and world music. I asked her what defined her beauty and she said "absolutely nothing or no one." I really felt that!

See, What Had Happened Was: I Know My Worth!

Author: Tafari, Friday, May 6th, 2011 at 5:14 PM

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This ceviche was prepared by me. I shopped for the fresh ingredients. I sliced that avocado to perfection. I styled the plate. I took the photograph. I ate the ceviche. I processed the photo. I posted to photo to Flickr so that I could share my recipe and image with friends and admirers. This all took time, energy & most of all, $30 for a piece of red snapper. OK…. ----------------------------------------------------- Today, my pissedoffness with Air Canada Vacations has ended after having a discussion with their marketing director; Manon LeBlanc. I actually left a voicemail for a call back this morning & was happy to get a response this afternoon.  Evidently, my web campaign to spread this hot mess was successful because this story was circulated by Air Canada’s PR department and beyond. Since yesterday the post has nearly 300 hits. Yeah, I put it on blast here, my FB pages, Air Canada’s FB page, Flickr & Twitter. I’m happy that the post spread because I think it’s important for photographers who grind like I do in this craft to know that our work has value & we need to claim that! Anyway, here is the rub… Manon apologized for Nick’s unprofessional attitude and response. She also informed me that he is a 17 year old college intern working an unpaid 2 week assignment.  Until Nick encountered me, he was used to getting the photos that he inquired about. I guess you could say that he was really feeling himself before he ran into me. I’m cool with the apology & can somewhat process Nick’s behavior. On the photographer piece, Manon mentioned that Air Canada Vacations has been successful in procuring images from Flickr users in the past at no cost while providing credit.  They have also encountered Flickr members such as myself who know the value of their work is worth more than a byline.  In these fuck you, pay me instances, Air Canada Vacations isn't a position to pay for a photograph because they don't have a photography budget. In fact, they have and will change the focus of their story(s) if imagery cannot be obtained for .free99. I’m tripping on the fact that they are able to fill a 300 page publication with free images. I mean, it takes a real marketing pimp to snake charm a photographer with photo credit only as the company gets paid by clients/passengers booking trips in addition to advertising dollars that they get through the publication. Seems like the sky is falling or some crazy mess because more often than not that companies, groups & individuals need imagery but have no budget. During the conversation I stated that it MUST be known that just because a photo is posted on Flickr does not mean that it is some random snap shot. In fact many of the photographers on Flickr are professions, semi professions and highly skilled photo enthusiast. I refuse to play a part in that game. The gas is too damn high! Lessons learned:
  • Sometimes you have to cuss a bitch out
  • Standing your ground keeps you from being taken advantage of
  • Social media is a wonderful platform to spread information rapidly
  • I love telling people to “Google my name & do my resume.”
  • I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit
Lastly, I am thankful for Air Canada Vacations reaching back out to me to smooth this out & I hope that Nick uses this interaction as a workplace learning example on how not to wild out. And no, they did not buy the photo, offer me a free trip, but they did Google my name.

Fuck You, Pay Me

Author: Tafari, Thursday, May 5th, 2011 at 5:38 PM
I’m contacted often from companies who are interested in purchasing work of mine that was spotted on Flickr.  I have been lucky to have to make some sales independently, some sales were done via Getty Images, and other times the potential sale fell through the cracks because the would be client wants the imagery for free with the promise of giving me credit. I have been past the “I’ll give to credit” shit for years. And of course you should give me credit because I’m giving my work to you. Are you crazy? Air Canada has contacted me twice before to get photos with the promise of credit & I declined. Most recently, I decided to flip the script when I got a message from an Air Canada marketing rep who was interested in this red snapper ceviche photo for an upcoming spread. I’ll stop here & let the email conversation take over. And yes, I’m still laughing!!!!!

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In The Mood

Author: Tafari, Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 10:06 PM

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The other day I received some feedback for something that I did recently. Not really a big deal because I always welcome feedback, but this feedback went in the wrong direction!  Everyone knows that good feedback should be thought out, concise, and constructive. The feedback that I received was nothing that I just noted and it blew me out. Actually I was hurt. I slipped into a self-doubting mode and it lasted quite a while. I was so done that I called Cousin Dee so that she could talk me down and help get my mind right. In the usual fashion, she made me laugh about it during the entire conversation, but every now and then, I would slip into that zone that prompted me to call her in the first place. By the end of the conversation I was good and moving on thinking that I can only do what I do; nothing else. I’m hired because people like my style and the quality of work that I produce and of course everyone loves my winning personality. I’m not gloating but it is what it is. So yesterday, I reviewed some information that got me feeling some kind of way again then I just had to throw my hands up like for real. I cannot win them all. No one can. Last night, I thought about my reaction and realized that I let someone get the best of me over something that boiled down to bullshit. My assessment led me to realize that... I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about MY shit! On another note: - I’m done with my winter semester with two classes knocked out. The end of the tunnel is 1 year away! This time next year, I’ll be inviting you to my graduation ceremony… I’m so looking forward to being down with this chapter of my life! - I thoroughly enjoyed the 1st installment of the PBS series "Black in Latin America." - My hair looks like a hot mess, but not in this photo that was taken by my friend Shades. It's a hot mess in real life. Cannot wait to get it 'did' Saturday!