FREE THE WORK
Photograph by Jamil G. Baldwin
Jamil G. Baldwin is one of 20 Fellows who were awarded the inaugural Image Equity Fellowship. Learn more here.
For Jabari Benton, 2018 (2018) by Jamil G. BaldwinFREE THE WORK
Tati and Craig Benton are joined by Shelly Johnson as they wear shirts memorializing Jabari Benton (Tati and Craig's Older brother). They hold an image of Shelly and friends gathered at the same place, where they annually honor Jabari.
“This is my ode to the lives of Jabari Benton, Jonathan Sandoval-Aleman, Millard Frazier Jr., and Olivia Lee,” says Jamil Baldwin of his series Tenacity. Baldwin’s poignant black-and-white images begin as photographs of family members from his group of friends, who are seen at sites of importance for loved ones who have passed away, holding images that Baldwin has printed and framed.
For Jonathan “Johnny Hash” Sandoval-Aleman, 2022 (2022) by Jamil G. BaldwinFREE THE WORK
Irma & Carlos sit in front of the gravesite for Jonathan Sandoval-Aleman better known as Johnny Hash, their son. Twice a year we gather in his honor: on the anniversary of his passing and his birthday. Johnny's nephew, Alex holds the image honoring Jabari.
Each image reappears within the image being held, creating a recessive effect where each family photographed is therein holding the next. This gesture, Baldwin notes, reflects “what it is to be held by your community of friends and family; a reminder that grief isn’t held by any one individual.” Baldwin then soaks the silver-gelatin prints in water, to a point where the image begins to dissolve and abstract.
For Millard “Pooter” Frazier, 2022 (2022) by Jamil G. BaldwinFREE THE WORK
Ciara is joined by mother Vicky, sister Keona, and daughters Madison & Milan as they stand by the apartment of her late boyfriend, Millard. Millard, Milan, Shelly and I made a similar image upon first meeting in 2017. The family holds the image honoring Johnny Hash.
These abstractions, for Baldwin, reflect the process of losing a loved one. “In some ways I don’t want Black bodies to be the anchor for conversations about death and grief and adversity. This series is really about love, but to know love as deeply as I know it, you need to know the depths of loss.”
Editorial statement by Aperture.
For Olivia “Olee” Lee, 2022 (2022) by Jamil G. BaldwinFREE THE WORK
CJ is joined by mother Crystal, and sons Cassidy & Casey in their backyard. Between them is a larger than life cut out of Olivia that was used at her funeral. The family holds the image honoring Pooter.
Tenacity (n.): the determination to continue (2022) by Jamil G. BaldwinFREE THE WORK
Shelly Johnson sits with his son Amari Johnson. They're playing video games together. Behind them is the image of all their friends and family honoring their loved ones.
Explore the other 2022 Image Equity Fellows’ final projects and learn more about the Fellowship here.