Description: SONS, SEEING THE MODERN AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE (SONS) is both timely and relevant. Recent events point to the urgent need for conversations about the contemporary Black American male. Any effort, however humble, to foster an understanding of this largely misunderstood and often marginalized segment of the American population is of utmost importance.

SONS is much more than a photographic study of the modern Black American male. It attempts to reveal how Black American males see themselves while encouraging a thought-provoking examination of how the Black American male is perceived. The carefully crafted photographs in SONS are not the work of a single photographer but the collaborations of a photographer and over 40 subjects to produce images that communicate something about the humanity of each person in the exhibition. Each man photographed for this exhibition is asked to present himself as he believed himself to be - in other words, his own image. Every effort was made to involve the subjects in the production of the images to ensure that the images represented their true, unique identity.

In SONS, the socioeconomic status of the men featured are as varied as their backgrounds. The subjects of this initial study were drawn mostly from the African-American community of Nassau County, Long Island, New York. From this microcosm, fifty African-American males from various ages, socioeconomic levels and professional groups submitted biographies and were photographed. The subjects should be familiar to most locals who view the exhibition because they are the Black American men whose day-to-day existence mirrors that of most Americans and members of their community. They are laborers, police officers, health care workers, engineers, retired servicemen, clergy, businessmen and the formerly incarcerated. They are also husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, co-workers, teammates, friends and neighbors

The exhibition consists of four sections: the introduction, the "Perceptions" section, the "Realities and Reconciliations" section and a brief documentary.

Two series of photographs were made of each subject. In "Perceptions," the first series of images to be encountered by visitors, subjects were covered with a black cloth from the neck down, which allowed only their faces to be viewed. The only caption is the subject’s name. Visitors are encouraged to make assumptions about the subjects based upon photographs in which only their facial features can be seen. These assumptions can then be compared to facts about the subjects and images of the subjects as they see themselves. In "Realities and Recocciliations" visitors are exposed to a the second series of images. For these images each subject was asked to present himself in dress and demeanor that most accurately represented him. Each subject was allowed to use props and to change clothing as many times as he wished. Most of these photographs were produced with subjects providing constant input. Example 1 above is one of the "How I See Myself" images.

The final section of the exhibition id a brief documentary entitled "Issues" a discussion of local and national issues concerning African American manhood. See an excerpt from Issue below.

A Special Feature Of SONS: A special feature of the exhibition is the option of the presenters to include subjects from the hosting communities in the project. For a minimum additional cost the photographer will travel to the hosting community to photograph a pre-determined number of "local" men for inclusion in the exhibition. The inclusion of subjects from the hosting community is an excellent way to increase local interest and encourage conversations regarding the contemporary African American male.


Availability: The exhibition will be ready for installation in January 2016.

Space Requirements: 100 to 120 each 11x14 in. images in 16x20 in. frames and 10 to 15 informational panels will require 200 to 300 linear feet. The exhibition can be modified to fit smaller or larger venues.

Base Fee: $6000.00 for 12 week run plus $150.00 per local subject photographed.

Contact Information: Jerry Taliaferro, Email: , Phone: 980.236.7171

Copyright © 2016 Jerry Taliaferro