Kory Jean Kingsley: The 2015 Lenscratch Student Prize 3rd Place Winner
Kory Jean Kingsley’s timely and layered project, To Be Here, garnered 3rd Place in the 2015 Lenscratch Student Award; last year she also received an Honorable Mention in this same competition. Kory recently graduated with a B.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her project pairs a city in springtime bloom with medium format portraits captured on the streets of Savannah. The combination of flora, street, and young black faces create a certain beauty found by celebrating a neighborhood and a season that are a nod to all things Southern. But her work also speaks to relationships and perception and at the core of this project, Kory is exploring humanity and our connectedness.
Kory Jean is originally from New England and currently resides in Manchester, Vermont. Using medium and large format film cameras, Kory is most attracted to the ephemeral aspects of natural light. She has exhibited her work at various venues around the U.S. and internationally including France and Egypt. Kory was recently showcased in the 30 Under 30 exhibition at the Vermont Center for Photography. She is an editor for Aint-Bad Magazine, as well as a guest contributor for Booooooom’s website forum.
To be Here
During my time in Georgia, I developed a connection with the local people and culture of the Southeast. Soon after I started living in Savannah I became more aware of the fact that the community that I was apart of was deeply rooted in African American history. From there I began exploring my relationship with the surrounding residents (usually men) by taking their photographs. I found that the photos came more naturally with men because often women wanted their portraits to be staged and anticipated. I quickly befriended these men and gained their trust by explaining my motives as a photographer.
When photographing for the series, I would visit the local basketball court and stay after dark to photograph the players and share some laughs when they joked around. Just around the corner from my apartment there was a house where groups of families would sit outside and visit with one another, warmly welcoming me as I passed by. Occasionally, I would stop by the local barber shop “Jazzy Cutz,” and exchange stories with the barbers, or step out my front door and see smiling children playing near the street. These places are where I found companionship and trust when I was taking photos. After leaving Georgia, I feel fulfilled knowing that I created these bonds with many people for whom Savannah is home.
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