Russell Frederick: The Business of Us

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When Russell Frederick quit the healthcare industry to be a photographer, he absorbed himself into the psyche of what we see.“Photography, from the beginning, was weaponized against us,” he observes. He applauds Frederick Douglass, who desired Black people to be ‘seen, not caricatured’. Frederick realized how media and the global perception of us is centered around photography. “The way I photograph us is specific and strategic.”

The image entitled “Taking Care of Business” (pictured) was shot in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. He recalls running into Shaun, a former college mate, coming out of the Victorian House, a Black-owned bed & breakfast. On his way to a business meeting, Shaun hurriedly acquiesced, “Bro, you got 5 minutes. I’m going to send this email.”

Using photography as an amplifier to change perceptions, Frederick wants people to see an honest reflection of who we are—not just our issues. “Part of it is a lot deeper than pictures,” he says. “But as a visual activist, I’m going to do my part with my camera.”

View more of his work at russellfrederick.com

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