- Raheem Nelson
A Conversation with Naomi Necy
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
Ra: Do you have any photographers that you're inspired by?
Naomi: No, I, because I just started, there is not one photographer that I'm even aware of. I know no one's work, I mean, it's something I plan on getting more into because I do want to expand and, you know, expand my vocabulary expand everything I know about photography but as of right now I am unaware of, of anyone Do you have any suggestions?
Ra: Jorge Colombo and he’s based in New York City, and he does a lot of black and white photography, and he has just this unique way of capturing people.
Naomi: I'm gonna check him out. That sounds awesome.
Ra: What made you decide to start shooting?
Naomi: I've always liked taking pictures I remember back in the 90s when Polaroids came out and, you know your little Kodak cameras, yes constantly taking pictures with those. So, I, I've been trying to figure out, trying to get in touch with myself, figure out what it is I like to do, and I just went out, bought a DSLR camera and decided to play around with it, put it down for literally two years but these protests that just came out.
I felt overwhelmed, I felt like there wasn't much I could do. I felt like, with the amount of killings of unarmed black people that were happening and, at the rate they were happening at and it happened also quickly you know you had Breanna Taylor and then, you know, George Floyd, all happened within a three month time span. Yeah, so once George Floyd. I don't know, I felt like I had to be a part of something, do something. And so, I live in the capitol area and there's protests daily.
So I said, you know, let me just pick up my camera and go out and see what's going on out there and I went to protest in New Haven protests in Hartford, New Britain Manchester, just all over Connecticut and really wanted to highlight and capture emotions so that was my main goal was to try and capture the essence of, of what people were feeling in that moment, there was a lot of emotions that I was feeling and I wanted to know, can I convey this through my photography so. So that was the move.
Ra: And when you're at these protests and subsequently different areas in Connecticut. Like do you see a correlation like or and or do you see like differences and like how people are showing up and what people have to say?
Naomi: Now, that's a great question because New Haven. That to me was the most exciting protest because they blocked off the highway.
I remember I got there and everyone's in the streets and the cops are there and for the first time ever I remember a girl had sage, and she was saying the cops right in their faces, giving them a prayer saving their faces and I, my first instinct was, oh my god that girl you know I'm thinking the cops are going to tackle her.
It was liberating because they kind of just let us do our thing, they stood there and I remember I saw a woman yelling at a cop, you know, telling her, telling them they need to watch themselves almost, almost borderline threatening. And again, they just stood there, very straight faced, and I thought, wow, it's the first time ever in my life as a black person that I felt I could say and do whatever I want to do in front of the cops without repercussion.
So that was liberating second best one was in Hartford. There was a turnout of at least 5000 people. And what I loved about having my camera, and having the lens that I have is that people mistook me for the media. So, you know, everyone's trying to find a place in the crowd and I'm rushing through my camera and everyone's just kind of opening up a path for me so I was right on stage, so I got to see the crowd I got to see the speakers right up front.
So that was exhilarating because it seemed like it would have been a hassle to show up late to that protest and try and be a part of it so I was glad that I was able to just kind of walk right in. But some very distinct differences Manchester's protests, was very quiet, almost like protests where people were like snapping, you know like, yeah it was it was extremely quiet there was a poetry reading, there was a yoga, Someone did yoga there. The cops, not as easy going as the other cops, you know, kind of like they're in almost looking like they're waiting for something to happen, not as forgiving not as understanding just really kind of like, I wish somebody would do something.
Give me an excuse. Yep, and the protests kind of almost followed that vibe, you know where everyone was in line and masks were worn and it was very ordered and structured and it was vastly different than all the other protests, I went to so that was a strange one for me. The one in New Britain was pretty exciting.
We walked all over the streets, and there's a lot of chanting it was a pretty big turnout, and I got some pretty good shots there so yeah I would say they're all good but Manchester is probably the, I call it the weirdest fiber and that is lively. Like I said, low enough where you can hear snapping, if you just remind me of like a poetry reading where people would be snapping. But yeah, they're all pretty exciting.
Ra: I've always seen a few of the photos that you show me, but they have grit to me. They feel grounded eye catching and dramatic. What do you try to convey to your audience. When you're editing your shots?
Naomi: I'm really trying to capture the moment. I want to incite feeling, you know, I want the viewer to almost feel what I'm trying to convey, you know, not just see it but literally feel it.
I put some photos on Facebook today and few people were like, I'm actually crying, looking at these photos right now, so much emotion in there. And not that I want people to cry when I see them but I do want people to feel what the person might have been feeling in that moment. So there's a few shots where there was a girl, reading.
She was saying, what everything that was going wrong with what was happening, and how she was tired of it, you know, I'm tired of this and I'm tired of that and I can't do that and there's this facial expression that she's making that even now starting to get a little bit of Goosebumps but I wanted people to feel that aches, to feel that frustration, you know like enough is enough.
So, yeah, every shot that I took at those protests, I was trying to capture an emotion it wasn't enough to just be there and take pictures of people there, I really wanted people to know what these individuals were going through and why they're at this protest, not to just make noise and make ruckus because I know a lot of people misconstrue that.
I know a lot of people were under the impression that these protests were merely to stop traffic in Illinois people but again I know I was there because I felt like I had been up to my wit's end, not knowing what to do and how I can change things and be a part of something so I really wanted that to show through the photography.
Ra: Yeah, that's great, going to a shoot, or an event, and having an intention to, you know, not just take photos like you're saying leave people with something, leave people with a message. So where can people find your work?
Naomi: As of right now, if they go to Naomi Necy on Facebook. All my photography, most of its there. I also have an Instagram, Naomi underscore Necy So for now, but I plan on branching out and getting it on as many platforms as possible.
Ra: You can find Naomi’s photography on Instagram @naomi_necy