New York, Los Angeles and North Carolina based photographer Adrian White creates portraiture primarily dealing with memory, trauma and history from the perspective of the African diaspora. His connects with his ancestors by remembering the past, documenting the present and imaging a utopian future.
White was born and raised in the small tobacco and cotton town of Stantonsburg, NC. He studied at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC (BA, 2002), Brooks Institute of Photography (BFA 2014) and Parsons School of Design (MFA 2019).
“My photographic process places as much an emphasis on preserving memories as it does creating images. Memories have the power to heal. We just have to pay attention to what they’re trying to tell us.
Grappling with its false allure of truth, I document the African diaspora in an effort to connect with my ancestors. Their systematic extermination has been erased from history and silenced in classrooms. I remember them, I connect with them - so that we can begin to heal. I document the future. I remember the past. I imagine a utopian future. By connecting with my ancestors, I learn about myself.
It is in the remembering that I believe that we can begin to heal.
As evidence of how, when and where black bodies existed is erased.
The remnants persist.
My visibility is my weapon.
My ancestors have scars and like the family photographs that I study and create those scars tell a story. Both love and loss exist in family photographs. That love and those scars are the reason I create my art.
It’s this push and pull that I explore.” – Adrian White