we gone be alright

For me, this photo represents exactly what it says… “We gone be alright”. This photo gives me great comfort and hope in our future. It represents black boy joy, black boys growing up in America, me, you, the minority community.

When I look at the innocence and beauty of the upcoming generations, I’m reassured that we gon’ be alright. Every time this photo is displayed, whether at an event or the back of my business card, I can tell it has an emotional impact on my audience.  For me, it is more than satisfying for people to find comfort and hope from my photographs. It means a great deal to know I can help people in a time of such craziness, simply by capturing beautiful moments like this one.

I’m a photographer and visual artist based in the one and only Oaktown [Oakland, California].  I’m a second-year student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, focused on both commercial and editorial fashion, concert photography, and portrait work.

About four years ago, I decided that photography was something I wanted to make a professional career out of. Six years ago, when I was in 7th grade, I took a journalism class where my teacher saw something in my ability to capture people [through photographs] that I hadn’t yet seen in myself. Her fascination with my work sparked a motivation within me to try to further understand what it was that she saw in me. Since then, I’ve not been able to stop shooting.

My mother, a screenwriter, and my father, a professional photographer, have done nothing less than support me in all my creative decisions. They’re both a big part of why I go so hard for my art.

My photography is not only an outlet for myself, but also a place for my models to express themselves in a real, genuine, and natural way. I want my audience to be able to feel like they have a sense of who this person is when they look at my work. I want the energy, personality, and spirit of the shoot to be felt in each photo.

I have yet to find anything — aside from taco trucks and Capri Suns — that make me as happy as being a photographer, and I hope that I translate that through my work dedication to the craft. I am nothing more than an artist trying to figure out how to grow, move people, meet people, create with people, and make some money doing what I live for.

Written and photographed by Salilah