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“nothing i accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me. i am who i am, doing what i came to do, acting upon you like a drug or a chisel to remind you of your me-ness, as i discover you in myself.” 

 

- audre lorde

about iya jackson:

arriving in baltimore by way of  my hometown, little rock, arkansas--i first picked up a camera at eleven years old. from there, it would evolve in more ways than i could imagine. i began my formal photo education during my time on the prospective staff, i competed in arkansas scholastic press association's artistic carry-in (first place), newspaper photo essay (superior rating), jostens photo contest (two honorable mentions) and arkansas press women news photograph (honorable mention).

attending gloria shields nspa media workshop in dallas, texas and national scholastic press association in indianapolis, indiana—coupled with personalized instruction from award-winning journalists, teachers, and photographers—encouraged me to develop my own personal style of photography. after completing my first photojournalism project highlighting students resisting within a predominantly white institution, i relocated to the dc metro area. i took more of an interest in portraits & began making images of my friends, partners, & roomates. eventually, i went on to act as photo editor for the observer in new orleans, louisiana. 

after leaving southern university of new orleans, i returned to my hometown for over a year. in 2020, my photography underwent a sort of metamorphosis as i began my own gender journey, search for community, and ultimately, family. this was a turning point for myself and my artwork. the subtle day-to-day reminders that gender is more than meets the eye– even in photographs –inspired intimate, colorful portraits when paired with archival works allow a glimpse into my community. a sight of honesty, freedom & care that gently contradicts the cruelty this world offers us. 

my work has become about community & history. i moved to baltimore & got so much more than i bargained for. during my time in the city, i’ve worked with baltimore youth arts as a summer mentor & was a contributor for bmore art. i am also a member of diversify photo's up next. i’m continuing to expand my current practice by being in community & learning from the lives i see those around me leading.

 

the continued evolution of myself, my loved ones, and the communities that surround me is the inspiration and purpose of my work. this work is not only my rebuttal but a personal manifesto. 

statement of purpose

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