The 411 Magazine The 411 Issue 1 Jan/Feb 2017 - Page 14




D . C . based photographer Bryon Summers returned to Union Market to host a free portrait session for black men and boys .
Photographer Bryon Summers ’ ‘ WE LOVE YOU PROJECT ’ is a passion project fuelled by both art and activism . “ It ’ s a creative way to protest ,” Summers says .
Summers believes in the power of protest through the digital march . Picking up his camera for the ‘ WE LOVE YOU PROJECT ’ and hitting the streets of Washington , D . C .; Brooklyn , N . Y .; Miami and Philadelphia with the goal of photographing 1,000 black men and boys - to take back the image of black men in America .
“ As a photographer , images are my loudest voice ,” explains Summers . “ They can be powerful reinforcements and examples of who we are and aspire to be . The ‘ WE LOVE YOU PROJECT ’ shares portraits of the black men and boys in our communities , showing each other and the world that we are not worthless . We are someone ’ s son , brother , cousin , uncle , husband , or father . We are LOVED .”
He uses Instagram to get that done . “ I wanted to flood the internet with positive images of black men to counteract the negative imagery that we ’ ve seen for years ,” Summers continues . “ I ’ m asking everyone I shoot to take back their image . In this digital age we have options to advance our movement . We can digitally march in solidarity while actively changing a false perspective . It ’ s been awesome seeing the support from both men and women coming out to participate , and in a way , digitally march alongside us .”
The ‘ WE LOVE YOU PROJECT ’ recently became a physical art installation on the wall of Union Market in north-east D . C . “ We hosted a photo shoot for the ’ WE LOVE YOU PROJECT ’, but when we saw the call to action impact of such a simple idea I knew it had to be shared as a mural on the side of Union Market ,” said Jennifer Maguire Isham , Director of Strategy at Union Market / Edens . “ Art is crucial to the growth and vitality of a city . It allows for dialogue .”
The photo mural captures the faces of 34 men and boys of all ages . Some of the men have worked at Union Market or in the Union Market District , others were friends or