On assignment from Black Oak Society, I was tasked with shooting two women for an exhibition called "Give Black Raleigh Her Flowers". The exhibition celebrated the powerful matriarchy that has helped shape the rich black culture of Raleigh, North Carolina.

"To "give someone their flowers" is a phrase I remember hearing on the Black radio station growing up. The meaning is simple: it is the decision to honor, thank, and recognize those special to you while they are alive to experience your appreciation. The melancholy nature of this statement resonates within the Black community. Firstly, we simply don't live as long as other racialized groups. Secondly, our contributions are rarely celebrated until after we are gone. Americans walk around interacting with the incredible culture, innovations, and political progress wrought by its Black citizens every day, yet few think to honor the humans behind the work."

Full Curatorial Statement written by Courtney Napier

Digital Photographs

All images made in 2021.

Carmen Cauthen

Medium: Digital Photographs

Octavia Rainey

Medium: Digital Photographs