Celebrating Culture and Diversity in a New Era
In February of 2017 a friend of mine gave me this pair of Ivanka Trump stilettos at a brunch we both attended. She didn’t want to sell them or give them to a thrift store, but she didn’t want to keep them either. Honestly, I didn’t know what to do with them myself.
That evening, I sat looking at the shoes; at all of the rhinestones and gold; taking in the ornate design and thought, “Man, there’s nowhere really to wear these”. Not only were they extravagant, but they were small, a size 7, much too small for me, or anyone I knew. I ran my finger down the impressed name, “Ivanka Trump” and then I flipped them over and saw the little “Made in China” stickers on them.
And that is when I realized that these ostentatious shoes perfectly summed up for me how I felt about this administration. It is only designed to fit a very narrow margin of society. As far as I could tell, nobody I knew could wear the sparkly shoes.
So I decided to take them out to my friends and neighbors to see if “the shoe fit” so to speak. What I realized in the process was so much more powerful than that.
I shot forty-four portraits over the course of eight days and the final outcome encompasses almost every conceivable blended family, mixed race, ethnic background, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, lifestyle and culture.
Amazingly, the farthest I drove was eleven miles from my home and even more amazing was that all of them are no more than one degree of separation from me. These are all people I know or that they know.
On April 9th a gallery show of the portraits and statements was held at Art and Invention Gallery in East Nashville which raised almost $3,000 for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
Fourty-four portraits with forty-four unique stories; stories of hope, patriotism and freedom. - When you think about the fact that this much diversity and culture is only eleven short miles from my home here in East Nashville (in the middle of red-state Tennessee no less) just imagine what that speaks to the vast fabric that makes up this already great country.