Monday, January 21, 2013

Musings on MLK, Jr Day

Having spent this morning watching the Presidential Inauguration and enjoying my annual discussion of the "I Have a  Dream" speech with my children, I've been contemplating the shadows in a different light.   

Anyone who has followed my work knows my penchant for incorporating stereotypes and traditional roles, exposing them through the lens, and hopefully standing them on their heads.   Gender, race, religion, age, sexual preference ... if it's a method of social division, it's in the crosshairs of my viewfinder!  

The beautiful truth of living and working in these times is that I can explore these themes!  Yes, there is still bigotry, and bias, and all manner of opposition to progress.  But in the course of my brief journey on this earth, I've seen much change as well.   

Much of my work is interracial - occasionally by design, but more often no more pertinent to the shot than my choice of gold or silver earrings.  A fabulous model is a fabulous model, whether they are purple or 90 or trisexual!  Early in my career, this diversity in my work created controversy and misconceptions galore.   Nowadays, I'm far more likely to get feedback on the mood and composition of an image than about what color the models happen to be.   When the point of  a piece is to challenge our paradigms, I'm more likely to hear thoughtful discussion than endure a hateful rant.   

Love is Blue - 012113 - Miz B - Image courtesy of Zakka

I believe our art reflects our world, but I also believe that it helps to create it.   What we see, we ponder.   What we hear, we absorb.  What we contemplate, we grow to understand.   Where we see beauty, we cultivate acceptance.  So I challenge all of us to peer into the shadows of our prejudices and fears ... to expose them to the light of our creativity ... and to bring the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many others to life!

I watched the inauguration as well and felt the swell of  pride in this country.  I agree with Washington's quote (which I paraphrase crudely) that the greatness isn't electing the first president, but the second one.  America has many great faults, challenges and strengths.   The overall peaceful changes in power is one of the good ones.

As for the late Martin Luther King, Jr., I admire him and his legacy and continue to learn from them.  Many of his great words still ring true today and need to be remembered and lived.  Below is my current favorite.  

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Both of these plague our nation and world.  Too many of us (yes, us, me too) choose to be ignorant about things in favor of lives of ease and avoidance of reality.  Our neighbors are multi-racial, multi-sexual, and multi-faith.  Some are conservative, others progressive, and many somewhere in between or not on the spectrum.  I hope we can soon realize these differences make us better than single-way thoughts and beliefs that afflict us now.  By stepping out of our comfort zone and learning about things larger than the individual, we begin to make ourselves better than the individuals we are.   We need to realize this soon because there are larger issues and larger achievements where such petty things do not matter.


  1. I try to have faith that we as a society are trying to hold to the ideals of " I have a dream " speech but the country seems so divide and the pure hatred and unwillingness to compromise saddens me. Look on any social media site and the vile that is typed (behind a monitor and keyboard) says we have learned nothing from our history. I find my refuge in art and in like minded people. It was a reason why I admired Miz B. I hope I can keep the dream ...

  2. Miz B, you are a beautiful model, a creative artist, and a wise philosopher. It's sad that the thoughts you shared with us are not more widely accepted. I can disagree with a person's politics or beliefs and still show that person respect. Unfortunately, there are too many people who believe that they must destroy and/or ridicule people who disagree with their views. We need more mutual respect, both in our nation and in the world.


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