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ICONS class of 2019

Sunday night
Team meetings about what we wanted to say for NYFW.
It hit kinda instantly; some of our favorite people, some of the most inspiring people, some of the most beautiful people would be here.
Let’s pay homage the iconic, legendary talents that kicked the industry open.

Monday we sent a message out to our faves and included some ideas about what we were thinking.
The legendary support models shot by Peter Lindbergh as the inspiration.
EVERYONE was on board. Like the perfect storm. It’s usually impossible to get this much talent in the same place with availability. We set up for Thursday am!!!

Wednesday am. We learned that Peter Lindbergh had passed on.
He was an inspiration not only for this shoot but fro me personally. The advice he’d given me. The philosophy behind his art. His demeanor. I was kind of heartbroken.
It reminded me of a quote of his.

“There's something else that makes a woman interesting, something beyond being young or being old. And I'm going to find out what that something else is before I die, I hope.”

Immediately, memories of my own near death experience were conjured.
The truth is that we are always really close to death, but Peter, in my opinion, had achieved at least the purpose of fulfilling the conquest in this quote.

This shoot instantly became more than just some images. We had the most amazing time.
We looked beyond the externals and the superficial reasons we were out there.
We were experiencing the “something special that makes women interesting”.

We are really proud and inspired by these images.
They are the mood board for going into our new endeavors.

Hope you love them like we do.
This new class of icons is undeniably irresistible.
Congrats to ALL of you. We see you!!!
In such awe of you. Congrats to you and continued success.

YOU ARE BOTH INSPIRED AND INSPIRING!!!

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OPINION PEACE

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A democracy is an amazing thing.

As amazing as it is, it has no place in my art.
If you give people a say, chances are they are gonna start ‘saying’

Let me explain a little by saying, photography is not the art it once was. Most people have access to a camera and the idea of creating imagery has drastically evolved. Being brought on to create images nowadays becomes an extreme group effort and is not the sole responsibility of the artist behind the camera (even though the blame WILL be the photographer’s if it doesn’t work out).

Art directors and producers… designers… etc. are all really vested and have opinions.
Photographers in the modern world are largely artisans rather than artists.

I can’t be that (all the time).
So I put my opinion into my own work.
Being critical of everyone else is such a HUGE waste of time.
Everyone knows better… so how come there isn’t a lot of “better”?
It seems that we have become content with the idea of “being critical” as our actionable contribution.

I found myself looking at things and being critical of them…
Such a waste.
DO SOMETHING.
What is my opinion?
What do I have to say?
If I don’t like someone’s image, if I think it could be better, I gotta make a better image.
Funny thing is,
In creating my own, I will almost certainly gain insight, understanding and/or hopefully respect for those that have traveled down this road before me.
I will also get my opportunity to experience what that scrutinizing critical audience is like.
Then, you start to realize, there isn’t really a “better”.
There is a ‘different’ there are alternatives, but better is so relative… and specific to our individual preferences and experiences.

THNWBLK
A place for my opinions to live.
I am at peace with the idea that I make the things I want to see.

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DO IT... JUST LIKE ME!

DONALD  From a series I am drawing… it will debut this fall. but I thought it apropos.  The title “DO IT… JUST LIKE ME! refers to the idea that we want people to like us. regardless of what else is going on in the world… but it also refers to the idea that we do so much to fit in… so much so, that we work hard to please the all powerful algorithms; and once we know what works, we feel liked. Following the instructions, ‘DO IT, JUST LIKE ME’ and you’ll be happy.    Please note the look on Donald’s face. It is directly connected to his feelings about this situation.

DONALD
From a series I am drawing… it will debut this fall. but I thought it apropos.
The title “DO IT… JUST LIKE ME! refers to the idea that we want people to like us. regardless of what else is going on in the world… but it also refers to the idea that we do so much to fit in… so much so, that we work hard to please the all powerful algorithms; and once we know what works, we feel liked. Following the instructions, ‘DO IT, JUST LIKE ME’ and you’ll be happy.

Please note the look on Donald’s face. It is directly connected to his feelings about this situation.

Funny thing, there was a time, when we thought virtual reality was not a real place.

That time is long gone. We live now in a world where you can become pretty much anything you want.  A world in which perception is reality and you get a million takes before you allow anyone to “perceive” you. 

In so many ways, it is getting more and more difficult for us to like one another. 

That becomes really discouraging.

More than that, it makes us seek out that which we can’t have. 

Longing to be liked. 

It’s a thing… for real. 

An addiction. 

 

YOU gotta like you though.

Or you’ll try to become what you think others like.

And here’s a secret. 

Most people don’t know what they like.

More than that, most people are not as heavily interested in you as you think they are. 

They’re in their own world.
A movie where you’re an extra or at the very most a supporting character. 

 

Love you! 

That way, you can’t be a slave to someone else’s likes. 

Literally.

 

LOVE YOU!

Love you,

a. 

 

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Inner Zeitgeisting

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Sometimes, as an artist, the toughest thing to do is trust your instincts.
It’s really easy to become doubtful of yourself when you feel like expressing yourself in a way that is completely foreign to the feel of everything else you see.
Am I wrong? Am I bugging? Is this not as dope as I think it is?
Gently cajoled by an algorithm, to create what everyone likes, with a promise of exposure, fame.
That story rarely ends how the artist wants it to.
The one thing you have, is you.
And while we have become so creatively talented that we can emulate one another, the one thing that can’t be done, is make another you.
It is tempting to contribute to the sea of similarity. The collective energy will support that behavior. It is safe and comfortable. It’s proven to be effective.
It’s also a trap. It’s an age old tale of a person thinking that once I get you to like 'this’ me, I will show you the real me and it will be all good.
No one really knows how to process the idea that you’ve been “lying” to them this whole time.
I don’t know who this ‘real’ you is… I fell in love with the other you.
Getting stuck there is oppressive… and depressing.

There is however a spirit inside of you.
You’d probably be shocked at how many people it resonates with.
Moreover, you’d probably be shocked at how much you resonate with you.

The Zeitgeist is not necessarily a bad thing, but historically, the disrupters are the ones who are remembered.

I know what the general mood is.
I know what photography is supposed to be right now.
I know what a model is supposed to look like right now.
I know what fashion is supposed to look like right now.
I know we have to follow a set of rules and play this game, right now.

I just feel a little better vibrating right here.
Not critical of anyone that chooses to play it differently.
Just doing things how they feel right for me.

At the very least, I know I cannot be replaced.
Not genuinely.

This is the kind of image I love.
I don’t know if the algorithm does…
but those things, algorithms, are fickle and demanding and unpredictable.
I never know what kind of relationship I am in with them from day to day.

Better I do what feels right for me.
At least a little.

Trust my inner zeitgeist.

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Reportage NYC : THNWBLK

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Letter from the Editor:

I debated on whether or not to post this.
It’s too raw. It’s too real. 
My father was a press photographer for many years and the amount of stories he told. The things he saw. He’s the GPS for my life. As I get older I realize, he was really trying to work it all out just like I’m trying to work it out and still be the superhero for my son that my dad IS for me. Anyways, there are so many “REALITIES” we have to face in this lifetime. I’m NOT a reportage photographer but I realize the need to see the world as it is and give my kid straight talk. I pray that this world gets better, I pray for those who are suffering. I pray for all the parents that push through and have to make this a better place for their... OUR kids. I know however, that THAT is not the purpose of this material world. Our purpose is to serve and love one another despite whatever the world has in store. I don’t take these images from a neutral position. I am very much attached. I pray for all of us. I love all of us. God bless y’all today. 🙏🏾
New York City 
June 2019.

Ananta

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MEDITATE

Our lives are pretty demanding.
Especially living in NYC. to my great fortune, I have known some genuinely amazing spiritualists. I highly attribute these people for my survival and the small amount of sanity I have been able to enjoy living in this city my whole life.

The thing is, what I learned from them, was not something that was common in my hood growing up. It’s not, nor was it common in any of the neighborhoods of my friends.

My current business model is, rather than talk about the things I think need change, to make those adjustments as well as I can.

Which brings me to this;

MEDITATE

I am going to begin a series geared toward anyone that wants to participate, on meditation.

I will be writing more about how it has helped me immensely with everything from perspective to productivity.

I will be doing physical sessions, passing along information and techniques I have been fortunate enough to receive and practice.

Hopefully I will have guests contributors as well.

Please email me thnwblk@gmail.com if you have any interest in participating.

or contact (scroll to the bottom of this page)

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YOUR LIFE

For the first time in our history, we are consciously living in two different worlds.
There is this material world we live in, where we have to make sense of how to balance our relationships our thoughts, our egos, our spirituality;
Then, there is a virtual world.
Where we live and interact and see in a way that we were never truly prepared for.

In The Bhagavad Gita (scripture from ancient India & one of my favorite books)
God is talking to his disciple about the art of life, and in conversation the disciple says that he wants to know/see everything.
God explains, that we are not meant to know everything. Not only is it impossible for us with our limited perception, senses and ability to process everything, but it’s quite unnecessary.
To make a long story short, the disciple keeps insisting, and God complies. At which point, the disciple freaks out because it is WAAAAY too much for anyone to handle. (& God doesn’t even hit him with the I told you so!! so perfect)

The amount of information that we receive on a daily basis, from social media, news and internet excursions is overwhelming. Especially because the reality of all of those things is skewed, greatly.

We take in the information that is curated for us by algorithms and editors.
We accept, reject, compare, analyze and redistribute large amounts of information that we may not even need. Or at the very least, need to know. more importantly, if perception is reality, this virtual world is real according to our perceptions. It’s real.

We don’t need to know everything… but since we are “here”
my humble offering is to be an observer, exclusively.

When it comes to the consumption of this information, observe.
Once we compare or become critical, it can lead to an overactive ego, longing for things that may not be for us or depression.

Your life is yours. You’d be amazed at how much you don’t want the lives that you see on other people.
What you’re experiencing is your life, your moments your journey. You can better yourself in your own way.
Observe without a vision tinged with wants or dislikes.
Learn to be happy for the success of others without wanting that success.
What’s for them is for them.
What’s for you is for you!

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SIRA

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THNWBLK
THERE IS VERY LITTLE TO SAY ABOUT THE AMAZING IMAGERY THAT SIRA PRODUCES REGULARLY.
OUR RECENT IMAGES ARE SOME OF OUR FAVES!

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EDITORIAL+

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EDITORIAL+

Beautiful images and stories with people that represent the world of thnwblk.

Just thought it was time to take the reins.  

So many of the gorgeous people in our world fit snuggly into our scope of what editorial is;
to the extent that we decided to make a series defining what that meant.

EDITORIAL+ is that series.
With the overwhelming (& extremely welcomed) movement of inclusivity that we are currently experiencing, we knew it was time.

Our take: While everyone is encouraged to create and express themselves, when making art, it is important to take our respective crafts seriously. With no real gatekeepers determining what works (as art), what is “published” (cuz what does that even mean anymore?), what IS art, we somehow need to keep the standards of excellence in tact.

I was once asked in an interview how I felt about the amount of photographers that have seemingly popped up in the last decade or so. I felt awkward answering, because on one hand, it’s irrelevant what I think, and on the other, I was being interviewed because people definitely take stock in what (some) other people think.
The truth is, it’s tough because the advent of so many photographers doesn’t allow for those that wish to be successful photographers to relent.

With so many people claiming the art as their favorite medium for expression, it is more and more difficult to stand out. This, coupled with a culture of instant gratification and subsequent disposal makes it extremely tough for artists to avoid getting lost In a sea of photographers and images.

So this is my answer. We create for us.

One of the tenets I subscribe to: do your duty and be detached from the results.

If we create from the place in us that needs to express itself, we will be satisfied in our endeavors and won’t be enslaved by our consumer base.

EDITORIAL+ is a place for us (me) to make imagery that I want to see. It really doens’t benefit anyone to continually demonize people for excluding the things that I like in their art.
So…

Here we are.

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Dance...

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Dance when you’re broken open.
Dance when you’ve torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance when you’re perfectly free.
Struck, the dancer hears a Tambourine inside her,
like a wave that crests into foam at the very top, begins.
Maybe you don’t hear the tambourine,
or the tree leaves clapping time.

Close the ears on your head,
that mostly listen to lies and cynical jokes.
There are other things to see,
and hear.
Music.
Dance.
A brilliant city inside your soul.

-Rumi

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Mission Statement:

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Why Love.

Our mission statement.

Love. 

In trying to understanding how the mind works, I’d been focusing heavily on meditation.
It is a very intense process, or at least it can be.
The mind is the most difficult thing to try to control.  Especially in this age of instant digital gross subliminal distraction.  The mind wants to multi task.  Netflix, while eating and checking Instagram and Facebook. 

Quieting the mind is probably the most impossible task one could dream up. 

So with all the stimulants, what to do? 

I think it’s all about training.

Mantra Meditation.

Think of it like trap music… for your mind.  Mind Trap.

The idea of trap is to have a dope beat and a very repetitive message.  Before you know it, you’re trained.  Not only do you know the song and lyrics (whether you understand the message or not) but it gets trapped in your head.

My personal mantra is  about asking to be of service.

The more I tried to execute that, the more I realized how diverse that idea was.

We argued over whether black lives mattered, or all lives mattered.
We realized that there was unfair pay amongst people performing the same jobs with comparable results.  We were speaking totally different languages. 

Love though.

How would I treat you if I loved you?

It cuts through all the BS. 

Would I shoot you in the street, in cold blood if I loved you? Whether your black life mattered, or all of your life mattered? Would I exploit you? Ask you to accept less for what I give someone more for?

There is a laundry list of daily instances that have me reflecting about what love would do if presented the same situation. 

So I began to write it.  Everywhere.  In my art.  On my clothing.  In the studio.

Love. 

As a constant reminder.  To train my mind.  To trap my mind. 

Now, when I act, I often think, “you can’t act like this if you’re repping love.”

The constant meditation on this gift we’ve been given by God.  LOVE. 

Constantly reminding myself… 

LOVE.

Somehow it works.

LOVE.

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Editorial +

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We are announcing thnwblk. Editorial+

It seems that there is a weird void in editorial that excludes certain things.
We will be shooting content to fill that void.

The idea of editorial photography is to illustrate and/or accompany a story.
Whether it’s been for lack of interest or lack of motivation, it seems that there isn’t a lot of diversity.
I will be the first to say that we shouldn’t be so “liberal” that we destroy the genre, but I definitely see potential for growth and diversification in the way we see editorial photography in fashion.

We look forward to sharing new ideas and concepts.

thnwblk.

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thnwblk.

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They say it’s easier to catch the wind with your hands than it is to control the mind.
The way though, is to occupy it. 
It’s like a baby.  You can’t take a toy away from a baby and think there won’t be misery. 

Apparently, the best thing to do is replace it with something better. 

We continually become frustrated with the manner in which the world deals with us.
Us…

All of us.

So we gotta make our own.
We are fine with being invited to the table, to the party, but not only will we not beg entrance, we invite you now, to come to our own DOPE party. 

There is no lack of talent or creativity.  There is no lack of motivation or desire.
It is evident in the way we make all those around us great (again & again).

Please give yourself permission to be the dopest. 

But be the dopest.  No more half ass art.  No more horrible editing. No more mediocre efforts.

No more degradation in our music.  

No more hate, of ourselves or anyone else. 

Love.

We have made a choice to use ‘Love.’ As our mission statement and do all things with that in mind. 

Now we raise the bar. 

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Skin.

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We live in these bodies
We spend our conscious hours in them at least, as far as we know
But we aren’t limited to these bodies
And we aren’t limited to our minds
Yet here we are
And how beautiful these vehicles are.

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Portraits!

THNWBLK Creative Solution is opening to portraits

Headshots, beauty portraits, creative portraits, we are excited to shoot with you.
We have been a bit reluctant to open up to these portrait sessions because our personal ideas of the portrait differ from the thoughts on the current climate of portraiture.

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We have sort of a minimalist approach to the portrait.
Our headshots don’t have heavy make up or a lot of retouching.
Our Beauty is not so heavily retouched either, rather, we love to showcase the beauty of our subjects.
We love to show the work of the makeup artists we work with.

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We love to create vibes, moments, memories. We creative friendships and then we make imagery.

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That’s what it’s all about for us.
Ultimately, we have a love for the art of things.

If you are interested in working with us (& we hope you are)
Please contact us for pricing and availability.

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© 2019 ANANTA THE NEW BLACK INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED