Meet Robin a black photographer who has mad shooting skills and also rocks natural Locs. In this interview Robin shares with us how she got started in photography and how she started her natural hair journey.
How or when did you become interested in photography?
I became more interested when I was in London & Paris for the first time, back in the 80’s. I borrowed a friend’s SLR and I loved it. After that my father bought me my first camera, a Kodak VR35. I still have it too, and it still works. I also have my father’s camera which I received after his death about 18 years ago. It’s a Minolta SLR circa 1981. It’s so old school. It’s fabulous. I’m teaching myself how to use it.
Why is photography important to you?
Photography is a captured image of how I see the world at that moment. It’s another aspect of my creativity. It makes me happy. I’m expressing more of who I am, and what I can share with others. It’s a hobby that manifested into a passion, and hopefully into a profession.
As a black photographer/artist do you find it hard to get your work out there?
Not at all. With the Internet, the possibilities are endless: blogs, photography sites, creating your own site. The only hindrance is a negative belief system.
Do you have a special style in your photography that singles you out?
I take what moves me, and that’s anything and everything that grabs me. I guess you can say that I’m an in the flow photographer. Yeah, that’s my style.
What do you enjoy most about photography?
That I can do it at any time anywhere. Well, except in federal buildings. Ha!
Who or what influences your work?
Other photographers and the world in front of me.
What motivates you do what you do?
The passion I feel when I take that money shot. My body heat literally increases when that special shot is taken. It’s a definite high.
I particular love this photo what inspired it and when did you start your loc journey?
I was attending a fabulous quarterly event at Kathmandu Boutique in Santa Monica. I was taking photos. Mind you, my camera is always with me. I saw this sista with gorgeous locs. I must say that I was so in awe of her locs, for a moment I forgot that I had a camera in my hands. Then the moment presented itself as I was sitting down having a conversation with someone. That voice within said, “Look up now.” It was perfect alignment. I took only one shot. The words on the back of her shirt was a bonus.
I started my loc journey 14 years ago. After 11 years, I cut them out and started them over again when my granddaughter was born. That was 3 1/2 years ago. So now I’m on another wonderful journey: the growth of my hair and the growth of my princess.
What products do you use in your hair?
I’ve used so many products throughout the years, I could open up a beauty supply store. Currently I’m using Taliah Waajid’s Black Earth Products.
Have you ever received negative comments on your locs?
Not negative per se, just misguided comments from a couple black women who couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to wear my hair straight one day then curly the next.
They didn’t think that locs invited different looks. However, when I was single, a couple of black men said that straight hair was more attractive. Ironically, white men loved my hair. That’s where most of my compliments came from. Now, I’m currently living in Los Angeles. If I was back in NYC, it would be a different story.
Who’s your hair inspiration?
My sister, Hollace. She’s had fabulous locs for about 30 years. She helped me get through the 6th month start of the adolescent stage when I wanted to cut them out. She talked me off the ledge. She also gave me the book, Dreads. That was yet another reason to love my locs.
Do you have a favorite loc style you like to wear?
I like to wear it in a zigzag style.
What advice would you give to black individuals trying to get their start in photography?
Just do it. Listen to your creative consciousness. Look at other photographers’ work. Peruse through any National Geographic Magazine for inspiration. Post your work. Have fun. Take a class, if you like. Educate yourself; there’s a wealth of information out there written by professional photographers. Find your voice through the lens. Go forth and shoot!
Also what advice would you give to women thinking of becoming natural or locing their hair?
It’s funny. We start out natural then some of us turn away from our roots. Pun intended. I had my hair permed when I was a teen. Then realized that it just wasn’t working for me. Judith Jamison (Alvin Ailey Dance Company) with her close-cropped natural was my role model then, and Essence Magazine had made its debut. I started feeling empowered, and my straight hair wasn’t part of what I wanted to become. I remember as if it was yesterday. I stood in front of the mirror in my bedroom, and proceeded to cut the perm out to the nappy roots. I then sported my Judith Jamison style for many years. So I was moved to go back to the beginning. I found my identity. Mine. Not someone else’s uneducated notion of what I should be to fit in.
I contemplated for two years on getting locs; as it’s beyond a hairstyle. It’s a commitment. It’s threads of poetry with a history that started in the Motherland. Having said that, my advice would be listen to your instincts. If wearing your hair in a natural style or locking it is something that you are in alignment with, do it. Your journey will be more of an adventure than a horror story. It also helps to have a circle of friends with natural hair to support you. I love my hair, even on my bad hair days.
You can view more of Robins work at these sites: