DEANA LAWSON: My name is Deana Lawson. I live and work in Brooklyn, New York. I'm originally from Rochester, New York, the home of Eastman Kodak. My mom has worked at Eastman Kodak for thirty-five years as an administrative assistant. Before that my paternal grandmother was actually the domestic cleaning lady in George Eastman's mansion. So in a sense I do feel like there's this mythological influence in me eventually choosing photography.
I knew that photography was the medium to best express the issues I was concerned with, self-representation, the body, questioning concepts of beauty. Always being drawn to the black body, but wanting to represent that somehow describe it. I wanted to find the familiar or find what felt like family, but through strangers. What I love about my process is that it's half staged and I have a preconceived notion of what I want, but then the other half is improvised. I'm interested in describing a black aesthetic, which I think is heavily influenced by my working-class background. What I think of as a child growing up in the '90s is like an absence of an array of what blackness can look like, and so what's inspired me is the variety of the spectrum.