Bobby Rogers: Minnesota Black

Bobby Rogers: Minnesota Black

Bobby Rogers, a multi-disciplinary artist and lensman from Minneapolis, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Design. He found photography as a calling after the police killing of a Black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri: say his name, Mike Brown.

Figuring out ways to successfully translate the emotional rollercoaster that we, as a Black community, were going through, Rogers started shooting protest photography as a reaction to the times. Since then, the vision of his art has evolved to encompass multiple themes and styles. “I merged these socio-political-cultural points with images that are normally reserved for fashion and art-making.” Mixing studio, documentary, and a specific style, he says, this is how, “I created the aesthetic that I have now.”

“Catch A Fade,” photographed in Minneapolis, by Bobby Rogers.

Inspired by his home base, Rogers favors capturing the essence of Black folks from Minnesota. “I know the depth within the Black art community here. There are Black stories that aren’t told. We have one of the largest populations of Somalians and Liberians. The global Black voice is vast and deep with knowledge—our parents history, our grandparents history. There’s so much here that’s untapped.”

Delving into the smooth rhythm of The Blacker The Berry lookbook images, Rogers created clothing merchandise to allow his supporters to participate in the experience of his oeuvre. The rich dark honey-lit background of the images makes the pieces pop, rendering the moody lookbook photos masterpieces on their own.

“My first solo show in 2017 was titled The Blacker The Berry. We ended up creating merch, because when you’re attending art shows, there’s a gap of accessibility,” shares Rogers. “At least, if you can’t get the art, and you still want to experience it, we have merchandise that’ll probably fit your price range.” His artwork originals can run you thousands of dollars, while his prints can set you back a couple of hundred.

Her rhythm: “The Blacker the berry.” His rhythm: “The sweeter the juice.”

Viewing Rogers’ portfolio is overwhelming, in a beautiful way. The stark black and white contrast in “Oh To Be So Bright” reveals his alignment with portraiture. Here, he conjures a cameo.

“Oh To Be So Bright” by Bobby Rogers

In the below images, “Duality of Relief,” a series of two photos that were initially test shots of lighting, copper—a perfect conductor of heat and electricity—coils the fingers and tendrils of Minnesota model Andra Knox. The heat is also captured, by Rogers, in the intensity of the subject’s gaze.

“Duality of Relief” by Bobby Rogers
“Duality of Relief” by Bobby Rogers

From protest photography to portraits, Rogers intends on capturing Black life, “reminiscent of EBONY in the 60s and 70s, with a quality of art direction to it,” he declares. Dedicated to the Black form in all of its boundless glory, he continues to produce graceful, evolutionary work that revels in our community.

View Rogers’ vast body of work at bobby-rogers.com

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