Jovan “Bonna” Lamb grew up in Overtown, an historical black community in northwest Miami. As a poor inner city kid, his story was beginning to follow the tragic tale of many young men before him—including his brother. When he came into possession of a video camera, though, his life took on a new meaning. In this video, Bonna talks about how photography transformed his life into something positive, despite the odds:
Photojournalism has existed since the United States government sent photographers along with the soldiers to document the American Civil War. It was not until the 1930s that photography was used to educate the world about the struggles of poor and marginalized members of society.
It was still longer, during the turbulent civil rights era, that the people claimed this right from the big newspapers—the right to tell their own story their own way, by creating their own images of the world as they saw it. This cultural shift has inspired generations of people to feel empathy, and occasionally even envy, where their parents and grandparents felt only pity and contempt.
The healing power of self-expression can’t be understated; the creation of art, no matter what kind, fosters a sense of identity, and therefore strength,in both photographer and subject. And in the case of Overtown, in the entire community of which they are a part. It can even save lives, as it may well have saved Bonna Lamb’s.
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