Self Portrait Jamel Shabazz

Poor righteous documents: legendary photographer and educator, Jamel Shabazz, pt. 1

AR: That’s deep. How did you getting knowledge and becoming a member of the Five Percent Nation impact you as a budding photographer?

JS: It gave me purpose. I think that being a photographer, just having a camera back then, I was just taking pictures, just having fun, you know what I mean? Flirting with women, documenting my peers. When I got knowledge of self, now I’m seeing with my third eye. I got a little bit more clarity, because I got a duty now [and] prior to that I didn’t have a duty. I just existed and now in having knowledge, you have the duty, and your duty is to teach. You have the responsibility not only to teach, but to learn. So now in having the camera and studying the history of the Master Fard Muhammad, and reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X. How Malcolm engaged with people in the street, I looked at the camera in a sense like a compass that guided me, and provided me with a vehicle to approach people now with purpose. Now I’m having camera, I’m speaking a new language now, like “excuse me my brother…” then I’ll take his photograph. Or, “excuse me sister you know you a queen…” My lane was changed, my process changed, my purpose changed, because now my purpose is not just to take your photograph, it’s to build with you. So I use this opportunity of you posing, of giving me the opportunity to take your photograph to build with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

CDC epidemiologist claimed flu shot caused deadly influenza outbreak, goes missing weeks later

Next Story

Hindu Holi festival welcomes spring with colorful rituals in India

Latest from Arts & Culture