Collecting and creating images and video as I did in this project was the first time that I set out to reach for a goal of this size. If I wanted to bring my vision to life then I'd only have about four months to make it happen. Six months that included six major holidays and one of Maryland's harshest winter seasons, as I am a natural light photographer. We photographed in the thick of summer at a sunflower field in southern MD, an abandoned warehouse turned parking garage, a lake side, D.C City Center, National Portrait Gallery Museum, Catholic Church of America, National Arboretum and the Library of Congress.
But, rewind, so that I can take a quick sentence to explain how this all came about. Per usual, I was inspired by music and this particular time it was Raheem Devaughn & Boney James 2013 single "Maker of Love".
The song lyrics spoke to my soul, sung my feelings, and felt like pure love. Words like,
"Pretty brown eyes."
"Like heaven, smooth skin."
"Them legs in those heels."
"Like a Da Vinci paint of art."
"You were made by the maker of love."
Then I took it a step further and considered how much I adored Kenny Lattimore "Find a Way" as his words went beyond the perfection of female's physical appearance and into the depths of who they are.
"the way you speak, your intelligence."
"you style, your grace, your elegance."
"you must have been made by His hands."
In my mind, I imagined capturing portraits and video of all sorts of women in size, height, complexion, hair styles and ages. I even went as far as offering Free portrait sessions with hopes of gathering at least 20 works of art. I wanted to show the depth and range of their magical presence. I wanted to challenge myself at finding ways to visually capture a woman's strength, intelligence, magic, unspoken supremacy, femininity, and sensuality. A collection of traits that only a woman's aura can present in a way that only a woman can. I wanted to acknowledge women for being the Goddesses that they are, while societies continue to desperately portray them as inferiors.
So, even though I wasn't able to collect images of 20+ women I was able to photograph 5 and they were brilliant! These women managed to offer me their time from their personal lives, family, and jobs (Accountant, Teacher and Business owners #BossBabes). One even traveled from Indiana and found time to participate so I can't express how extremely grateful I am. They've trusted me enough to be my muses and over the next 30 days I will presenting new art pieces of each of them. I am hopeful that my work will make them proud or even exceed their expectations.
Please share our project in celebration of Women's Month. I've strategically chosen to present this collection in March in order to further express the importance of women in this WORLD, contrary to what they try to make us believe. Subscribe below and be first to view new postings. Follow us on social media at Jakiera's Eye and join us Celebrate, Uplift, Love, and Praise our women and ourselves, daily!
January 10, 2018 we hardly celebrated our 1-year anniversary. In fact, I forgot it was the anniversary until a love one brought over a card and sunflowers to congratulate us. It's been a trying year of trials and tribulations; business lows, contracts that didn't fall through, partnerships that never kicked off, clients that backed out, and a 15-year collection of over 1 million photographs and videos damaged (but not beyond $1,100 of repair). Meanwhile, the technology the we use in post-production is aging and outdated, I've already quit my 5-year career in finance to devote all of my energy into creating photography, and our business lending source is no longer dependable.
Since as far back as I can remember I've always planned to stage a black Santa Claus during the Christmas holiday for portraits. Well before hashtags like #MelaninMatters and black culture was trending. This isn't something I wanted to do because the timing was right since the popularity was there but because it was past due. As a child I wondered why my mom kept giving this white man credit for this amazing Christmas that she gave me year after year. I recognize the struggle, her hard work, and our economic status in our single parent home. She was my Santa AND SuperSHEro but for those who believed that it was Santa that delivered then they should at least believe he's the same complexion as they were. "Keep it in the family!" Unfortunately our funding source didn't come through as promised so that was another lucrative opportunity missed. To add salt to the wound, I saw ads for a local mall that was hosting its first black Santa.
Fast forwarding to today, it's been a year, we've made it and that's a celebration within itself. Mentally I've tapped out a couple of times, my subconscious has attempted to call it quits, and my bank account has said it's over but my heart and passion and purpose says otherwise. This year you can look forward to our monthly newsletters, faithfully. We have plenty of projects stewing in the pot including Goddess, The Greater Globe: DC and Baltimore, Black Girl Magic, and personal documentaries from Jakiera's perspective. In addition, we've taken a different approach to the expense of our services and have decided to make Everything $125 across the board. Consider us the Walmart of culture, business and brand photography! Lastly, we'll be opening a merchandise store this year with products including handmade and one of a kind camera straps, wall decor, mugs and phone cases. We have a lot to be excited about and I'm hopeful that you're as excited as we are to join us on this journey and give back along the way.
At the top of October we'll be traveling to Iceland. For the last 6 years I've been traveling internationally 2-3 times a year but this will be my first international trip out of the country this year and I am THRILLED! This will be my second time going to the continent of Europe (second to Switzerland). I'm not a fan of the cold, in fact I don't even wear coats but it's going to be a new day once I land into their 40F and below climate.
As excited as I am, I have not created a photo-list, I have not purchased a coat, I haven't even considered packing BUT my cameras are on standby and ready when I am. We'll be visiting the Blue Lagoon and for those that aren't aware, that is known as one of the wonders of the world, an amazing gift of nature. I'm most anxious about sharing the photographs and GoPro video that I am able to capture from that visit.
In addition, we have plans to rent a manual vehicle and explore Reykjavik in our little compact 5 speed manual. Ironically, I always look forward to going out of the country to rent vehicles because 95% of the time they're manuals. More than half of the 9 vehicles that I've owned in this lifetime were manuals. In the United States, manual vehicles are becoming historic. If all goes well then we'll board a ship, pray not to get sea sick, and be fascinated by sea life and whale watching!
Lastly, the Northern Lights, are on our itinerary and even though I'm trying not to let my expectations soar to high they are inching away from me. Hopefully the solar activity and weather will be in our favor to make the experience epic. Here's what Northern Lights Centre has to say about the lights.
The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres.
On an ordinary day I probably wouldn't have considered a trip to Iceland anytime soon. The continent of Africa is at the top of my travel list. I'm also excited about touring Italy, and places like Amsterdam, Dublin, and Ireland have been lingering in the back of my mind. However, when opportunity comes knocking you don't get picky, you get to booking. Even though my photo list have not yet been composed, I have every intent to use my 6 hour flight to make it happen. My mission is to awe my viewers and exceed even my own expectations with travel, landscape, and nature photography. Stay tuned Jakiera's Eye Travel !
Branding is the story you tell a consumer to influence them to choose you or your brand over someone else. Customers recognize and remember consistent brands, which can only be done when you stay on brand with your message and presentation. The message has to hit people and stay with them. People won't remember what business message and purpose are if it isn't consistent at all times. Presentation Matters across the board including themes, logos, fonts, colors, and images. When you present yourself in a professional manner you separate yourself from the amateurs. Present professional images with quality and clarity and people will associate professionalism with your brand.
Business ownership requires one to wear many hats and many times we forget to allocate the work or DIY becomes second nature. However, entertainers can not model, put on a comedy show, recite poetry, or perform while capturing their brand. Businesspersons can not realistically run a business, reach sales goals, present at events while attempting to capture head shots and product photography. Even the best multi-tasker or DIYer doesn't have the adequate time or skill to capture its brand efficiently while servicing its consumers.
Start-ups and small businesses are on track to outnumber corporations. Social media plays a huge role in that creation and growth and acts as the largest communication tool between brands and consumers through audio and visuals including images, illustrations, and graphics. Within seconds, social media can provide viewers with information and this has resulted in decreasing attention spans. Branding has become easier to deliver but more complicated to produce. The presentation is the focus and the message is the support. Companies have to use images to persuade the viewer enough to read the first few words of the caption or body, which will have to then influence them enough to "click" or "read more." Brand strategy matters, my team and I going to use our Back to Business series to show our viewers how. Subscribe, follow, and like our social media platforms to learn, be inspired or share.
In addition, we'll be featuring many of our clients and exposing their brands. We have a variety of businesses and brands that come from different industries so it will allow our viewers to get a wide look at different approaches to branding. The series will kick off with Jakiera's Eye Photography and spotlight up to 10 others. Be sure to leave comments or questions as the series goes on. We'd love to assist or hear your feedback. Thanks!
Authors: Brand expert, Antonisia Baynes and Business photographer, Jakiera Daniels
We went from having never participated in the newly discovered "Pop-up" shops to having 2 in one week. Special thanks to my partner in Life, brand expert marketing strategist 2nd photographer and graphic designer, Antonisia, for holding down the table with glory! At both events I acted at a vendor and event photographer but everyone that visited our table was greeted with undivided attention and the start of a new relationship or contact in their network. We answered questions, gave the brief stories on the history of Jakiera's Eye, and most importantly, we offered deals to make their time worthwhile. Even better, we raffled off free portrait sessions that valued $255 for up to 7 persons, 1.5hrs, location of choice, 20 digital images (copyright free), and unlimited wardrobe changes.
Thanks Quann of Congress Heights Arts & Culture center for having us, along with Stacy and Ms. Vicki Davis for having us at Back to SchoolTMCT Back to School Festival. We are grateful for the opportunity and excited to collaborate again. Click each of their links to find out how to get involved in DC communities of color.
Summer of 2017 will be memorable because it holds the milestone of my complete transition from employee to business owner, dreamer to doer, and hobbyist to professional. But to top it off, Nations Photo Lab afforded us the opportunity to partner with them as sponsors of ABC 2 News series, Built Upon a Dream, in the renovation process of the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore Brooklyn O'Malley, alongside other sponsors including @underarmour @loweshomeimprovement @tacobell.
I absolutely feel blessed, fortunate, and extreme delight that I was able to capture & provide the portraits for this makeover but it's so much more! The anticipation is overwhelming as the final touches come together for the reveal and the joy it will bring to the youth. I'm imagining feelings of gratitude, value, love, and further confirmation that they were worth it all! Pure bliss #TheGreaterGlobe
Be sure to tune into ABC on September 7th and stay connected with us as we share the journey here on JakierasEye.com. We are currently showing the Brooklyn O'Malley trip to Sagamore Farms with former Baltimore Raven, Ray Lewis, "Sunsets at Sagamore." His camp allowed underprivileged youth of the BGC of Metro Baltimore a chance see life outside of their norm. Time spent at the camp gave them hands-on experiences to relish in the possibilities. Visit our page for more of the journey.
#OccupyBarryFarm GENTRIFICATION OF SE, DC
So many questions; what happens to those who are bought out, forced out by the government? People are being forced out of their homes and on to unaffordable cities and counties. Where is the compassion, remorse, or concern? Does capitalism make people so filled with greed that they become heartless? How much of this has to do with racism? If the neighborhood wasn't 100% black or minority would this still take place? Washington DC is hardly affordable for middle class so how will people of poverty be able to afford the costs of DC living? Or is this none of the Government's concern? Life isn't fair but this isn't even ethical.
I want you and him and her and the white population and the black population to care. I want everyone to see that equality is the missing factor and that it's not acceptable. People are too comfortable with things like this happening. Many of us don't even know that it's happening; let's be informed and voicetress with our demands to create change. Real people and real families, including innocent and helpless children are losing their homes and livelihood. Unfortunately, black people in poverty tend to lack knowledge and resources to create change but there are others who can help fill those gaps. Let's all do our part.
#TheVisualVoice Meet Mr. Daryl (the disgruntled one), James (who preferred not to be called Mr.), and Mr. Ernest (who claimed to be Leroy Jones before he laughed and said "I'm lying!")
Here they sit and wait from 7am when the shelter puts them out, until 7pm when the shelter let's them back in.
It's an abandoned part of the old St. Elizabeth's Asylum campus, which will soon be turned in the Government's DHS hear quarters.
Many people will be left to wonder what will become of their living space, including these three men of #TheGreaterGlobe , #ParkChester projects, and the home owners of #BarryFarms that are being forced out against their will for the interest of the middle and upper class (see "Illegal Moveouts" blog).
The event that I was present to capture wasn't anything to be excited about but I'm proud that I had the mentality, awareness, and readiness to jump into photojournalist mode to act. On June 8th, I was sitting in the garage window way of a coffee shop called Tryst when a pickup truck went speeding up 18th Street through two people on foot, police officer bicycles, side swiped a motor bus and bystanders vehicle, before crashing into a dump truck in an intersection, after he attempted to flee.
For me, I had just left a meeting for branding only an hour or so prior so I dropped by the coffee house for live jazz while I wrapped up my notes. Loud noises during the evening, 9 o'clock hour in Adam's Morgan is nothing out of this normal. 18th Street is known for bar hopping, clubs, music, and plenty of people. However, the noise coming from the sound of a bus and pick-up truck colliding, in addition to the sounds of people gasping and screaming, were not the usual sounds of 18th Street.
Initially, I stood clear of the road, alert, scanned my surroundings, and mentally started preparing my escape plan. I immediately started to wonder if this was some random, drunk, idiot or a terrorist attack. After all, Adam's Morgan is touristy and locals come frequently so it's fair to think that the location could've been targeted by terrorists. My first thoughts were of the Nice, France terrorists attacks when drivers drove through crowds on Bastille Day.
After giving it some fair time, I heard the police sirens and saw locals rushing over to offer assistance and then I went into action. If I claim to be "The Visual Voice" then I need to act like it; at all times. I had a job to do. Unfortunately, just before this happened I had to go to the car for my laptop charger. I grabbed my important belongings (my camera) and left the rest once I sent my prayers up that no one took any of my things. At the car, I figured I wouldn't need my camera anymore (Wrong, Wrong, WRONG!) so I left that and only returned with my charger. So everything was documented on my iPhone 7 and luckily it's a Plus so the photos and videos were fairly decent, which can be seen on my page ADAMS MORGAN, DC.
Even better, 6 news sources reached out to me for permission to use my material on their stories! Those sources included FOX 5 DC, NBC News, the Washington Post, NY Times, NBC NY, and Reuters News! How cool is that!? I was tickled, honored, thrilled by the idea and the day after my Lovher was browsing Facebook and recognized one of my images. Little did she know, I was published so imagine her excitement when she realized it was me!
This isn't just June, just Pride month, just the start of summer, it's the month that marks the start of my life. New beginning! I finally freed myself. I 'womaned up'! I's a free woman now! My two weeks are in and as of June 7th I no longer worked for the man and my newest nephew was born. Now I have a total of 14 nieces and nephews.
For the last 2 years I pondered, dreamed, and fantasized about life outside of a 9 to 5. Then 1 year ago my lovher signed me up for a workshop at the Greater Washington Urban League and I met Ms. Vicki Davis and company. Changed my entire mindset! Thank God for my willingness to be ready, open, and fearless enough to take on the unknown. Thank God for my lovher for signing me up rather I wanted to or not. Thank God for Ms. Vicki for recognizing that the business plan that I presented her with for real estate was nice but not my passion. She has be the confidence, support, and knowledge that I've been in search of, all-in-one!
So in the last year of the past two I've been planning and plotting on the low. Getting my ducks in order, making sure important things were aligned, making sure I could hold my own, help my family, and live my purpose. Now here I am! I'm ecstatic! I feel so true, so Jakiera, so valuable, so inspired, liberated, and accomplished. Yes, accomplished, and I haven't reached any monetary goals or made any promising partnerships but I have taken the biggest, most bold, brave, and forthcoming step ever in my such and such years by leaving my "good Corporate America job of 5 years," in finance. Even if I reach sales goals that I can't even imagine before the years end, that will still be my accomplishment of the year.
Crazy thing is, soon after I resigned my laptop caught a virus (not from my porno sites so cut it), my desktop stopped working (turns out that was only the power source, praise God), and my external hard drive with over a million photos and videos from my life collection of photography broke. So major scares, MAJOR. And expensive ones too. The laptop has a $2400 value, desktop $2100, and even though I don't need new ones yet, I do have an expense on the hard drive. The recovery will costs me $1148 but I guess a lifetime of photography is worth it (hehe!) at least they're able to be recovered. PRAISE EM!
If I had one gift, one purpose, then I'd like to believe that one was to contribute to society providing unity and love through the art of photography.