Am I What You’re Looking For?

Acknowledging the critical moment of a woman of color’s decision to change who they are to ‘fit in’ and to find work, she decided to ask her sitters to dress as if they were going to an interview and to relay their feelings of ‘otherness’.

“At Yale University, I found myself in a place of ‘double consciousness’. I grew up in one culture and now inhabited another, becoming a mediator between these two worlds,” said Endia Beal.

Endia Beal was the only black person who was in the class of 2013 in Yale University’s photography program. She was also the only black person in her workplace- an IT department

When Beal discovered that her fellow classmates were fascinated by her reddish-afro, to the point of touching her hair, she decided to turn the tables on them. She made a series where she allowed them to touch, but recorded their reactions. One participant said, “It felt like I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing but wanted to do.”

She continued feeling this ‘double consciousness’ and decided to carry this theme in her work. Beal took her camera to the corporate world where most people are required to water down their individuality to promote the brand of their respective workplaces. Beal started to interview people to record their experiences of having to transform themselves to fit into the corporate world. “For instance, one of them is called Ann but her real name is Desiree. When she started working, she was asked to change it because Desiree is too exotic for the office,” says Beal. “It’s not just a minority thing. It’s a woman thing.  “All women can relate to that experience in some way. So I really learnt something through this project as well.”

Acknowledging the critical moment of a woman of color’s decision to change who they are to ‘fit in’ and to find work, she decided to ask her sitters to dress as if they were going to an interview and to relay their feelings of ‘otherness’.

Read the full article at: www.bjp-online.com