There was a time, sometimes the thought still creeps into mind; that as a girl growing up, I was unworthy to better myself because of where I came from "The Hill District"-an area and it's occupants perceived negatively. I wanted to know why because of where I lived, being black and a girl somehow meant (means) I was unworthy to reach for my dreams. I examined why being a 'girl' was so negative through my photography thesis on Simone Beauvoir's book, The Second Sex, to better understand myself as a woman and the perception of being woman.
I feel strongly about the growth and empowerment of women, no matter the background, we should be able to dream and strive to become whatever we want to become. The opportunities through education and the ability to give back by teaching and what I have learned, especially as a photographer, has empowered me to document women stories of strength and resilience no matter their background or past. This stemming into a journey of images about worth, love, beauty, man and power within.
I am a social advocate; with a background in hospitality, management, photography and customer service...I teach, I mentor and I am constantly learning, growing and changing. Now a days I am a freelancing photographer, teaching artist and a branding concierge.
Woman & Man
The images you see are a perception we all have about New Orleans; it’s fun and always a party to escape your problems. What we miss are the problems and issues those in these images have sustained. A major riff occurred when the flooding of Katrina happened. These people who entertain us on the streets of New Orleans lost families and friends. Also, there was a loss of the respect they deserved to be cared for, to be helped, to rebuild, and to strive again. Instead, it was put on the people that are mostly of black and brown complexions to stand and rebuild themselves. But this is a mask, this entertainment to help soothe your perception of New Orleans is just a façade. They are still struggling with injustices within: black males being shot, homes and neighborhoods being flooded, and individuals displaced because they can’t come back to homes that are forever gone...neighborhoods that will never be rebuilt. And still you are entertained with a smile, a mask, a trumpet, and a dance. Will you look behind and beyond the entertainment or are you still just entertained?
Richena Brockinson is a teacher, artist, photographer and owner of Lioness Photography. She has earned her Science of Photography Bachelors degree from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She has worked with various clients such as The New Pittsburgh Courier, Dollar Bank (Pittsburgh) and New Horizon Theater Inc., as a photo journalist & media photographer. She has served as a teaching artist for 17 years; working with Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and for Manchester Carftsmen’s Guild. Richena has solo exhibited, ‘Superhero Within Me’, in conjunction with Toonseum’s Heroes Block Party. She has exhibited her photography at Art Basel (Miami), The Shadow Lounge (Pittsburgh), with Women of Vision at Penn State University. Richena mentors youth, advocates for local artist and has been a panelist for various funding non-profits. Her artistic observations and knowledge, offer a unique perspective on life, Career and entertainment through her work.