Representative Black Stock Images for the Win

Web designer and front-end developer Kenneth Wiggins brainstormed a new stock photo service. With the help of photographers, he created a site that provides nuanced, non-stereotyped, high-quality images of black people. BlackStockImages (still in beta at this writing) already has over 400 photos in several categories, including food, objects, people, scenery, travel and youth, for example.

Wiggins writes:

“By focusing on respect, authenticity and culture; I’ve built a platform that presents Black culture in a genuine light, leaving the generic visuals and offensive propaganda to the other sites. I believe images used to represent content is as important as what’s written. BlackStock is here to help connect the messaging by providing quality assets for better branding and communication with your audience.”

BlackStockImages, via New Republic.

BlackStockImages, via New Republic.

Found via New Republic.

Because representation in media matters. Because black lives matter.

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Teaching Positive Masculinity

Mr. Courtney Robinson, Dean of Students at Facing History High School, has established male-oriented programs in New York that teach models of maleness, change the way men think about their masculinity. He connects with highschoolers through questions and debate, but also by going over plain everyday occurrences. Natascha Yogachandra reports in The Atlantic:

“Robinson listens intently to the students’ problems and responds with short suggestions for nonviolent solutions. It’s a male place, a haven for these high-school boys to talk about the things they ordinarily would find difficult to air in public.

“The purpose of these programs is to give boys the chance to rethink maleness, and to change the way men treat women and each other. Moore, the one who always brings up basketball, says that the group isn’t for the weak-minded. ‘This is for people who got strong minds; who are willing to step up to the plate and really become a young man.'”

Mr. Robinson is also undeniably committed to his students. Despite an offer for a supervisory position, he chose to stay at Facing History High because, in his words,

“[m]e seeing y’all and being here to support you all [to] graduate and move forward and be able to deal with your problems, and help you all make it through and give you all advice means more to me than whatever dollar amount they were going to give me.”

Kudos. Because there shouldn’t be only one way to be a man. Because diversity is where our strength lies as a species.

Autism and Photography

To document the often bizarre and incomprehensible world of his son, photographer Timothy Archibald has been photographing his autistic son Elijah from age 5. It started with taking photos of the repetitive behaviors or rituals that Elijah exhibited. Then it turned into something more:

“When Archibald showed him a photo of one of his behaviors, Elijah suggested doing it in another way or another place. Both father and son were very interested in the process through which they could get a good photo. ‘We had this mutual sense of discovery,’ Archibald says.”

Elijah has in time become a more active participant, helping to brainstorm and set up the photoshoots. Mr. Archibald named the project Echolilia. These photograph sessions sound transformative for them, because through them

“…father and son create their own visual language, thanks to which they can communicate with each other even when there are no words they both can understand. In fact, Elijah receives positive attention for his rituals, can share something with his dad, and has even started to take his own photos.”

Autism Photos Timothy Archibald

Timothy Archibald.

Autism Photo2 Timothy Archibald

Timothy Archibald.

More Echolilia photos on Mr. Archibald’s website. Reporting via SNAP and Lomography.

Because communication matters. Because making a connection with other people matters.

World’s Best Father Photos

Photographer Dave Engledow has been taking humorous, irreverent, wonderful photos of and with his daughter throughout her (currently four years of) life. Working with his wife Jen, his aim is to depict fatherhood and capture life with a baby / toddler. The Engledows’ project has achieved far-flung fame: apart from newspapers, magazines and websites around the world, their work has appeared on the Today Show and Good Morning Germany, and a book titled Confessions of the World’s Best Father was published in May 2014.

The photo that started it all:

World's Best Father

Dave & Jen Engledow.

They also take irreverent photos like this one:

World's Best Father

Dave & Jen Engledow.

(I did mention irreverent, right?) Both photos from the Engledow Tumblr (here and here).

Mr. Engledow explains how it all started:

“In February 2011, my wife Jen and I created a photograph that would literally alter the course of our lives.  Our daughter Alice Bee was 66 days old at the time, and even though Jen and I had gotten over our initial amazement that 63 days earlier the nurses at the hospital had allowed two such obviously ill-prepared people to walk out with a newborn child, we were both still feeling an almost constant anxiety about our total cluelessness around raising (or is it rearing?  I always get those mixed-up) an infant.  Additionally, we were both exhausted, constantly afraid that we were screwing up (a fear, I’ve since learned never really goes away), and completely and totally in love with each other and with our wonderful, amazing, beautiful daughter who we both agreed was the most perfect thing either of us had ever seen.

“The sleeplessness combined with the cluelessness and constant fears of failure were causing me to do what I always do when confronted with things I don’t understand or don’t like—find a way to make fun of those things.  The constant joking about these feelings of inadequacy ultimately led to my decision to create an image that captured new fatherhood by showing exactly how out of it I felt as a new father.”

“Jen and I are grateful for all of the unexpected attention and subsequent exposure given to our images, but for us the most pleasurable aspect of all of this is the continual support and encouragement we receive from people all over the world.  I genuinely had no idea that so many people would connect with our family’s offbeat sense of humor, and for me, this has been by far the most rewarding aspect of having a much larger audience for our work.”

See more on his Facebook page or Tumblr.

Because why couldn’t art emulate the imagination of children. Because playfulness and curiosity are how the human race has gotten this far.

Seniors as Calendar Stars, Take 2

Inspired by the hugely popular calendar featuring German seniors, Senior Living Communities in the U.S. has created their own version. Again, seniors recreated scenes from movies with dazzling results:

Charlie's Angels Senior Living Communities

Senior Living Communities.

Ghost Busters Senior Living Communities

Senior Living Communities.

Star Wars Senior Living Communities

Senior Living Communities.

Again, because you don’t just stop thinking, dreaming, laughing or existing when you get older.