You often feature Black people in a positive, stylish and sometimes provocative light. Is there a specific reason for this?
"I don’t know when it all started, but for a years, I’ve been very color-conscious. I’ve been very race-conscious, and I’m very aware that I’m not just an artist, but a black artist. And I have no problem with that. I’m very careful about how we are portrayed. I know that if you google the word ‘beauty’ right now, 99.9 percent of the faces that come up will be a white women’s face, and that’s a bit astonishing. And, I don’t know, I just feel like images speak volumes, and when I speak to people through my images, I just want to make sure I’m saying something positive when it comes to the issue of black women or black men.
I also tell negative stories, I can show an ugly side or tell an ugly truth, but at the end of it all I want the message to be something beautiful and positive that not just Black people can relate to but everyone can relate to, and I want everyone to understand it. But that’s not always going to happen. Not everyone is going to look at my work and see beautiful, stylized, somewhat provocative photos. I guess some people will just see ‘ugly naked bodies’ or ‘pornographic images’; ‘uncombed afros’ or long ‘unkempt dreadlocks’. But that’s kind of why the image is out there, to expose people to those images more, and desensitize them to it. Black power is still scary to a lot of people. It shouldn’t be something to be afraid of. Black Power is a necessity.”
- Dexter Ryan Jones (artist/photographer)