Behind the Photo with Roxanne Munson

“What is your voice? What is your story? What message do you want your images to convey? Are you being authentic to your voice and your purpose? What is your why behind said image?”

9th Place Award in the “Black Lives Matter” category. Photo by Roxanne Munson, Mexico.

I remember setting up my tripod to take this image. Looking at the news in the USA, as I sat in my penthouse apartment in Mexico feeling broken. Reflecting on the fact my family is the only Black anything where I live, and yet I feel more comfortable and accepted in a country not my own, than I do in my own country.

Black Lives Matter is more than a black square on a Tuesday. It is more than a t-shirt and a catchy slogan on a poster. It is being seen. It is being heard. It is being valued. And above all it is knowing even in my Black skin I matter.

What specifically drew you to this moment that you captured?

I wanted to create a powerful self image showing that my Black life matters.

What was your experience while making this photo? What challenges did you encounter in the process?

I was emotional when thinking about how to create this image.  I knew what I wanted to convey, but was unsure if I would execute it effectively.  After seeing the image post processing, I knew I nailed my execution. 

What do you think this photo means to you or to others?

Black people want to be seen, heard, and valued.  We are strong powerful beings who have been through the unimaginable, and yet we still rise and thrive.  This photo represents all these things to myself and other Black people.

How or why is photography important to you?

It helps me tap into my creativity and bring attention to topics/people not often seen or heard. 

The Documentary Family Awards is an international competition in search of the insightful and meaningful ways that documentary photographers explore the interpretation of family.