Jared Soares: The States Project: District of Columbia
Washington, a city of contrasts, is divided into four uneven quadrants, one of which is separated from the rest of the city by the Anacostia River. When photographers come to the east of the river communities, their quick sojourns and photographic rhetoric too often varies little from a reductive narrative of poverty and violence, is usually photographed in black in white, and continues a pattern of pathologizing communities of color. Enter Jared Soares.
I first saw Jared’s work at a small community photography gallery in the Anacostia Arts Center where he was displaying his work The Farms. Barry Farm has a reputation in D.C., a public housing project with a storied history, mostly forgotten, and now slated for redevelopment. The land upon which Barry Farm sits was purchased by General Howard, former Civil War general, and then head of the newly created Freedmens’ Bureau, to provide land and opportunity to the formerly enslaved and free peoples of color.
Jared’s work, The Farms, focuses on the best of the east of the river communities: the palpable sense of community spirit and neighborly concern that defines this area for me. He sensitively captures the portrait of a place whose identity has too often been conscripted into a caricature.
Jared Soares lives and works in Washington, D.C., splitting his time between commissioned work and producing personal projects that explore the intersection of community and identity in contemporary American life.
He has worked with editorial and commercial clients such as AARP, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, Monocle, Microsoft, Nike, Vice, VSCO, Whole Foods Market, and Wired among others
Jared’s work has been exhibited in both group and solo shows at venues including Museo d’art Contemporena, Roma; The O. Winston Link Museum; Longwood Arts Gallery and during Look3 Festival of the Photograph. His Small-Town Hip Hop project was exhibited as a solo show at The Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon for the month of November 2014. His artist books and prints are held in the permanent collections of the Portland Art Museum, Sloane Art Library at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and The Indie Photobook Library among others. He has been awarded grants by the National Press Photographers Association and the Puffin Foundation.
When he’s not making photographs, Jared can be found playing pickup basketball games at Guy Mason Park or walking his pet terrier or looking for flights to Kansas City or Hawaii to visit family.
Please don’t use the term “streetball” to describe any of the action you see at The Farms. This asphalt haven is one of the few places where individuals can turn away from the rough realities of life. The burden of peace doesn’t always rely on the play or the players, but rather, the show of community. Welcome to The Goodman League.
For 39 years The George Goodman League has been a summer staple for basketball fans in the District of Columbia. The Barry Farms Dwellings court has played host to the likes of NBA All Star Kevin Durant, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, President Obama’s former personal assistant Reggie Love, local legend Jamar Board, former And1 streetballers Baby Shaq and White Chocolate along with college and local area talent.
Hugs and hand pounds are a common sight. Laughter and smiles are a mainstay. Weekend games feel like a homecoming reunion. A little trash talk might be exchanged but it’s all love inside the gates.
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Jared Soares: The States Project: District of ColumbiaNovember 12th, 2016
Tatiana Gulenkina: The States Project: District of ColumbiaNovember 11th, 2016
Louie Palu: The States Project: District of ColumbiaNovember 10th, 2016
Eman Mohammed: The States Project: District of ColumbiaNovember 9th, 2016
Stephen Crowley: The States Project: District of ColumbiaNovember 8th, 2016