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Conversations with Creators: Joshua Jean-Marie
A new photo story featuring Louisville-based photographer, Joshua Jean-Marie
Typically for our Conversation with Creators series, I seek out a Louisville creative to spend some time with and photograph. Today, I want to bring you into one of my own photography projects: Draw Near.
If you're located locally here in Louisville, you can catch me speaking about this body of work tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 pm at Sojourn Arts Gallery. More details here.
“Our ability to distance ourselves from one another has never been more effortless or significant than it is now. Recognizing this, I've developed a self-assigned responsibility to capture and share moments of intimacy I stumble upon, almost as a cry for humanity to never forget the power of togetherness. In doing so, I've gradually found myself pressing more and more intently into these moments, creating my own space of purpose and intention, rather than just another photograph.
Draw Near was inspired by St. Paul the Apostle's writings in Hebrews and is a self-reflection of my earnestness to lean into the candid, unblemished human interactions I encounter. In creating this body of work, my aspiration is for humanity to recognize that intimacy results from drawing near to each other. Unless we assign ourselves the responsibility of acknowledging and engaging one another, intimacy can only remain a desire.” — Joshua Jean-Marie
I first displayed Draw Near in 2020 as a small collection of nine photos at a local coffee shop. At the conclusion of the show, Michael Winters, Director of Arts & Culture at Sojourn Arts approached me with an opportunity to exhibit my work on a larger scale. This time 40 photos.
The invitation caught me by surprise. I didn’t expect nine photos in a coffee shop to really move anyone. But it did, and I’m beyond grateful. It was a true moment of confidence building for me.
In sharing this work with others, I’ve grown to realize how often I use photography as a way to answer my curiosities and questions.
“Sometimes a photograph provides a full answer, and sometimes it barely scratches the surface.”
For example, I captured the photo above after a conversation with the three young men around employment. One of the young men shared with me how he was struggling to find a job due to his age and the lack of disposable income in his neighborhood for smaller jobs like cutting grass or raking leaves. I didn’t solve the young man’s problem by taking a photo, but I’m now able to take his story and his experience with me as I encounter others. This is what Draw Near is all about.
What’s next for Draw Near? I’m not really sure. I could see the body of work continuing to grow and take different forms. Possibly even a small zine.
If you’d like to keep up with Draw Near and my journey as a photographer be sure to follow me on Instagram!
Thanks so much for reading this week’s Conversation with Creators photo story.