Last year, I had the pleasure of working with John Edmonds on a solo exhibition of his work at Light Work, in conjunction with a powerful issue of Contact Sheet, which brought together his Hoods photographs and Du-Rags silk prints. I was delighted learn that Edmonds received the Capricious Photo Award, which resulted in the recent publishing of his debut monograph, Higher. The book is a beautiful record of the first decade of his photographic practice. In his short career, Edmonds has quickly managed to find his own voice in images that are deeply resonant, on many levels. Artist and friend Carrie Mae Weems once noted his “penetrating eye,” which I find to be equally sensitive. While his work comes from a very personal place, as a means of exploring intimacy, the body, and symbols of black culture, his photographs also pose larger questions about viewership, desire, and power today, engaging us in important conversations about visibility and societal preconceptions. There is elegance in Higher’s simplicity, which allows for the strength of the work itself to come forward. The book is already an important contribution to the field, laying a foundation for a young artist who is poised for much more in the years to come.
Shane Lavalette is an American photographer, independent publisher, and the director of Light Work, a non-profit photography organization in Syracuse, New York. Photographer www.shanelavalette.com Publisher/Editor, Lavalette www.lavalette.com Director, Light Work www.lightwork.org