If you’re on our mailing list, you’ve likely received a little green envelope with the words “Community through Photography” on it. As a community-based organization, HCP prides ourselves on our ability to bring people together from around the world through this art and practice. Both our local and global communities are growing and changing daily, and our priority is to continue to respond with meaningful conversations, cutting-edge programs, and by advancing the application and critical thought around the medium in the most relevant and accessible ways for everyone. But, in order to really understand how HCP can continue creating a robust community, we decided to take a step back and ask ourselves first how artists do this through photography.
This issue begins here by asking photographers to reflect on this word and how they shape or mold community through their work. Naturally, responses are incredibly varied. In the first interview, Rose Marie Cromwell points out that there is danger in a word that is often used to “other” disadvantaged communities. Her practice reminds us that community is an ongoing, collaborative process. It is about exchange. Juliana Kasumu’s project, From Moussor to Tignon, describes the evolution of social markers that were once used to do exactly what Cromwell warned us about—to isolate and mark a group of individuals—and are now used as a source of self-representation and empowerment.
David Hilliard’s work, which will be shown in our galleries in late spring, emphasizes our individual agency in molding our own community or creating our own families, regardless of the ones we have inherited. This is one of the most poignant ideas for us this season as so many forces seem to work to disconnect us from each other ideologically and even physically. We do have agency, and perhaps some of the smallest and most private acts of resistance are the most important.
Matthew Genitempo and Curran Hattleberg each take us into more conceptual spaces through their poetic projects that at once tell the story of real people living on the edge of society as well as a broader, national narrative of disillusionment and disorientation. And finally, Eric Gottesman discusses how he and artist Hank Willis Thomas created a community of artists by establishing an official super PAC that asks viewers to think about where this disillusionment and conflict comes from historically, emotionally, and intellectually, and then asks them to turn that into action. I am very excited to also have our collaboration with For Freedoms, Margin and Center, open at HCP this March.
As always, I invite you to join us over the next season, and I thank you for being a part of our community.
—Ashlyn Davis, Executive Director & Curator