Njena Redd Foxx
Check out my interview @ don-dean:
Are you a voyeur or participant?
Easily both. I even loved to be watched if the time is right… but dealing with my photography, I am a participant. I took out the details of the pictures, what you don’t see is the laughter, the tears, the hugs and advice that has been given to me by my friends(subjects) throughout the years. The years I have spent in conversation, abandon lots collecting metal or tears spent over people’s lives ending all too soon is the background in all my images. But thats the world isn’t it, so, everyone knows and experiences that.
I am a citizen of Chicago. A participant. I realized I must make this world my friend if I am going to extract pictures from her. Trust and friendship brings you everything, and thats what I asked the universe to give me to make images. There is a difference. Voyeurs make images and try to tell the truth. I am participating in my time line by trying to create the images my minds eye sees.
What in this world do you care most about?
The earth, and my mother. If either of those two cannot proceed in peace, what is the point of life.
How does your editorial work influence your art? Where do the similarities and differences lie?
Editorial work usually comes from demands for capital. And more than often, the work has to please capitalists. But, shooting editorial work has taught me the hustling side of life. It has opened doors when I thought none were going to be pried open. I realized, I just want access to make photographs. To make art freely of and with others. Sometimes editorial work puts you in the strangest places.
Therefore, it has influenced my life by bringing me to the unknown. Thats where I thrive. I love to float there, hide my camera under my arm, and when the moment arrives, focus, pull the flash out and bam!
The difference is, that with my art, I have been learning to gravitate towards what feels good. So often it is easy to get trapped in the doom and gloom of life and trying to share the pain with everyone. But we live in a duality conscience where life isn’t always pain. Sometimes it’s ribbons of light, big rims on cars and parades. When I make art, I am liberated. I visualize, I decide, I make, I critique, Art is a holy experience. Someone is always lurking around with editorial.
What do you think qualifies as a good portrait? Are there any singular
The only thing that makes a good portrait is a good artist. I love when portraits look like something we haven’t seen before. I love to be surprised.
What are the running themes that connect your work?
I think I work out my societal experience through my images. To me, it is so vain. Its a document of my constant line crossing. My cross-cultural pursuits post internet. Pictures that when in mass, scream to the world “i wasn’t really supposed to be here.”
Where are the pauses or the lulls in your work?
Pictures without humans. I feel like that is rare. I so often find my lens pointed at people. To me, that unbalance I have between images with people and with not is like using silence in a song. Its a note that I find hard to play.
What kind of space does the viewer get to with over stimulating photographs, can we gain any sort of infinite knowledge out of excelling our senses? Can a photograph do that? Can your photographs do that?
Beautiful way to put it. There is some truth to a photograph capturing souls. After all, it is stopped time. As a teenager, my uncle would get a magnifying glass and stare closely at my images. He would find little fairies resting and flying all in my images. He would point them out. Through his mystical critique, i found that in everything is the story of something else. If the magic is in you, in your images, it is a fractal of emotions. Images aren’t about one thing, but everything if it’s done right. It’s all those layers of life that the viewer can participate with. When I make photographs, I feel liberated, I hope that is contagious and felt through the images. It tingles the senses that we haven’t given names to.
Ask yourself a question and respond.
What do you plan to do with all this image making?
I plan on making images, art and transforming our time to we all realize we are condensed light. Photography has taught me so. But, with that. We are moving at the speed of light. We can manipulate our light bodies and reach ascension. Until then, I plan on trying to comment on my position in this place. I imagine I will make films, watercolors and maybe come across some new mediums as well. Photography is just one tentacle of my future. Like life, I plan to constantly be changing.
You can hear children laughing most places you go in Chicago. Playing tag through the gangways, asking parents for money because the ice cream truck is rounding the corner or celebratory cheers mixed with the sound of crashing waves because the guys from the block popped open the fire…
Good form, Tahd! I always love your photo/writings. Keep it up!
I quit school after receiving money from a private scholarship for documentary photography after taking a trip over the summer to the southern United States. Earlier that year I had bought a Bronica S2-A from a friends father who was divorcing his wife and preparing to live on a sail boat. It was relatively cheap and sold to me under the condition that I would never sell it.
The money from the scholarship went to buy film, get a one way Greyhound ticket and get a move on it. I was planning a trip with nothing really in mind but to spend a summer out and end up in Kentucky on a friends 600 acre farm to build a tree house. I didn’t know this trip would turn into my life.
Below are journal entries and images of my straight up and down from Chicago to Georgia and beyond.
“Mountain people make homes out of isolation, surround themselves with impassable areas and small communities.”
For the record, (T)odd is one of my Local Heroes.