Fifty Brooklyn families had their portraits captured on Saturday by well-known artists and photographers in honor of World Photo Day.
The first Annual Bed-Stuy Family Photo Day was hosted by art dealer and gallery owner Richard Beavers at his namesake location in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
“Family portraits hold immense significance for families, capturing the love, the joy, the pride and intimacy of these relationships,” said Beavers. “This is our way of celebrating and honoring what is both ordinary and beautiful in our diverse community, and the pride that family photos provide.”
Participating families represented the diversity and breadth of what constitutes family, especially in New York City, including intergenerational households, single mothers, single fathers, mixed race, LGBTQ+ families.
Families portraits were taken by six prominent photographers — Danielle Alston, Ian Reid, Kay Hickman, Megan Schmidt, Vanessa Clifton, and Brittsense – off of whom have been celebrated for their work capturing everything from fashion and pop culture to the complexities and charisma Black and urban communities.
“Photography is an important way to document people and what’s happening in the world around you. I hope that more people will become aware of the power of photography. I am participating in this event with Richard Beavers Gallery because I enjoy community and creating tangible memories for the families in Bed-stuy to cherish is meaningful to me,” said Hickman.
“I’m fortunate to have a place like Richard Beavers Gallery to view amazing art and be in community with other creatives,” she added. “It really helped me to grow as an artist. If you don’t have similar space in your area create one.”
Family is the foundation of the person we become, whether we like it or not,” said Danielle Alston whose portfolio includes work for Gucci, Cardi B and more.”
“I was really looking forward to shooting single parents along with their kids. I personally know the challenges associated with capturing memories with your child while you’re out and about as a single Mom. If you don’t own a tripod, it usually results in a selfie, or a photo of just the child- if a passerby doesn’t volunteer to help take the picture. Today, everyone can be included in the photo,” said Megan Schmidt.
Her work has included the dynamic movement and moments of sports and fitness to the visual appeal of food.
“It’s always important to document our history and culture. Because I want to be a part of the community, it was important to participate with such a dope gallery. Being able to look back at this in 10 years and look at the people I photographed, and hopefully photograph them again in 10 years and laugh about the memories we have created. It’s important to support local people who believe in you, and who have a good vision for things and understand your vision,” said Ian Reid whose work has been featured in Vogue and GQ, and additional credits include work for major brands like Nike, Converse.
His work can be found in some of the most prominent libraries in the country including the New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries, Princton University Library, and
Sächsische Landesbibliothek (Dresden).
“I’ve been looking for ways to start giving back as an artist and this is such an incredible opportunity. I’ve lived in Bed-Stuy for almost 10 years so that makes it so much more important. This was a great experience for me because it gave me a chance to not only observe these families but direct and photograph them in a way that their stories come out even further. Without photography the only way we would tell stories and share info is with words and in my opinion, photos add so much more depth,” said photographer Vanessa Clifton whose credits include commercials, stills and key art for the upcoming Neftlix series Partner Track and the highly acclaimed Wu-Tang: An American Saga.
“I’m participating because I wanted to meet and connect with more people and families in the neighborhood, I also wanted to help RB give back to the community,” she added. “These are my neighbors. This is home. Sometimes I think about moving away and I try to find similar communities. But this does not exist elsewhere. The history, the richness of the community. I would tell other artists to reach out to galleries in their communities to connect and be involved.”
Beavers, one of New York City’s few Black art dealers and gallery owners, places high importance on family and community.
Over the years, he has transformed his gallery into a free barbershop for kids; does an annual turkey giveaway during the holidays, and has sponsored internship programs for unemployed young men to work in community gardens.
The gallery will take the power of capturing family photographs on the road in 2024 in key cities across the United States, including Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, and Los Angeles, featuring local photographers, culminating in an exhibit at Art Basel Miami in December 2024.
About Richard Beavers Gallery
Richard Beavers Gallery (est. 2007) is a Brooklyn-based contemporary art gallery committed to facilitating a dialogue amongst emerging and mid-career artists who investigate social and political issues at the forefront of the Black community.
The gallery has a keen concentration on work and media that articulates urban visual culture.
It establishes access, education, and pride for people of African descent.