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 Meanwhile, the technology the we use in post-production is aging and outdated, I've already quit my 5-year career in finance to devote all of my energy into creating photography, and our business lending source is no longer dependable.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.
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.