“I spent the last five years traveling to Ferguson, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Standing Rock, Milwaukee, Madison, Charlotte of course, Charlottesville…”
Alvin is a featured photographer in a local exhibit called Know Justice, Know Peace — a community-created exhibit about police-involved shootings.
What advice would you give to your younger self? “To do everything I can do that day. I wasted a good fifteen to twenty years of my life thinking that there was tomorrow. I would do everything I needed to do that day… everything that day. Educationally, financially, spiritually, physically… do it that day. Stop putting off assuming that you have another opportunity to be great. Sometimes you only have that time, you only have that second.”
What do you think is your biggest challenge right now? “My pockets haven’t quite caught up with my ambition. A lot of people think that activism work just happens. Well, fuel… there’s a price tag attached to that. Food… you know, you have to pay to eat. You have to pay for lodging and things like that. If you’re an individual that has a good job, well, financially you can handle it, but how do you take off from work at a good job to go cover or document a protest in another city or state? So, there’s that balance that a lot of people don’t take into account with the work. It’s morphed into working with the Panthers. It’s morphed into being on Jay Z’s 4:44 Tour. It’s morphed into this exhibit. I have an exhibit at Davidson College entitled Three Steps Back. It’s happening. Everything that I’m wanting, that I’m speaking to, is happening, but I have to show up.”
Do you have a life philosophy that you follow? “I’m really here to get everything that they said that I couldn’t have. Everything that I wasn’t qualified for. Everything that I wasn’t educated enough for, I wasn’t in a proper position for, didn’t have the right pedigree… economically, religiously, I want. I want to speak everything that I need and want into existence, and I want to manifest it. My life’s philosophy is: go get it. Go get it. There’s no such thing as enough time. We talk about, oh I wish I had more money, I wish I had more time, but you’ve had more money, you had more time, you had more food, you had more clothes… just do it.”
Technical Notes: This is my first stranger portrait using a strobe. I used a 21” softbox attached to an XPLOR 600 strobe held in my left hand.