This subject matter is a topic I find important and relevant in history, as well as something I relate to and share. I chose to shoot portraits of black women in my life that I believe to be well immersed into their culture and have a strong sense of identity. These are women whom I easily relate to not only because of the colour of their skin but because we are constantly trying to find out more about who we are and the importance of where we came from. 

    Tracing back in time when black people were slaves to the white world, in most cases, if not all, black people most importantly lost their identities and diverse cultures among many other things during this time. Many years later, upon the abolishment of slavery and becoming a free people, a large portion of black individuals took on the names of their owners or slave occupational names as family surnames when they started their lives over in the Western world. Today, we still carry those names with us.

     I have taken these surnames of black women and tried to trace them back in history where they originated. Many black individuals do not carry “traditional African surnames” because they were so harshly conditioned to forget their identities during slavery. In bold are the last names of my subjects, underneath are their heritage and how they identify themselves, then the country of origin that form their last names, followed by a definition.

 

All images shot with Canon Rebel T5i (18-135mm lens)