SouthEnd ARTS Social Justice Speaker Series
Thursday, May 2, 2019
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Charlotte Trolley Powerhouse
1507 Camden Road
Charlotte , NC 28203
“STORIES TO TELL… BROOKHILL VILLAGE MATTERS”
SouthEnd ARTS is thrilled to present: ALVIN JACOBS, JR. Famous documentary photographer and activist.
A man who cares deeply about relationships with Charlotte’s Brookhill Village residents. Relying solely on sun and shadow, he documented his subjects in black & white. There is no artifice in Jacobs’ images nor in his technique. This is his valiant attempt to give voice to those in our community who are often rendered voiceless.
What Jacobs has captured in Welcome to Brookhill is a collection of images that, like poetry, stir emotion. The photographs reveal what this neighborhood – like every other neighborhood – has come to be to its inhabitants: home.
“Jacobs …doesn’t take his profession or his place in this moment in Charlotte’s history lightly. He’s a deep thinker whose work is part-photojournalism, part-historical documentation, part-activism—but all art. He doesn’t believe he’s doing his job if his audience doesn’t squirm a bit.
But as he began to collect the 30 images that eventually made up Welcome to Brookhill, the popular exhibit that opened at the Harvey Gantt Center for Arts + Culture in September, Jacobs set out to make a profound statement by showing the ordinary—smiles and tears from regular folks leading regular lives.” Charlotte Magazine
“It’s really about the people,” Jacobs says. “You blame (them for) a lack of education or a lack of hard work, and all the things that we offer to individuals of privilege by default: They earned this, but the individuals who are most likely of color deserve to be where they are. But nothing could be further from the truth.”Alvin C. Jacobs Jr. has emerged on the scene as one of the area’s premier photographers. Alvin spent time honing his craft in Chicago, IL via work as a freelancer and brief training at the Art Institute of Charlotte upon his relocation.
“It’s been an incredible few years for Jacobs, who first gained attention around Charlotte for his photography when he stopped focusing on fashion and began hitting the streets to document protests and other direct actions against injustice. He was inspired to do so by his experience in Florida, where he was attending the NBA All-Star Game at the time Trayvon Martin was killed.
After shooting photos of reactions to Martin’s killing, he changed his whole focus. He’s since covered large-scale protests in Ferguson, Missouri; Chicago; Charlottesville; and the Charlotte Uprising in 2016, among other places.
“The passion behind the story of these people is what gets me out of bed in the morning,” he says. “I have shot professional sports and major concerts and fashion events and editorials and the like, but there’s something about someone trusting you personally to not only capture their likeness through a photograph, but also telling the story that, if given the opportunity, they would do so themselves.
“This was difficult and different, because it wasn’t just a photojournalistic standpoint,” he continues. “These are my friends, so I had to take care of them, their reputations, their homes, their community, their neighborhood.”
But in the end, it’s Charlotte’s neighborhood, and Welcome to Brookhill is an attempt to get folks to admit it.” Ryan Pitkin
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