Western Kentucky University photojournalism alumni are collaborating on online print sales in an effort to rebuild Black owned business and communities. They have raised thousands of dollars.
Best friends and class of 2020 graduates, Gabriel Scarlett and Morgan Hornsby have teamed up for a fundraising goal of $2,000. Their colleague Nick Wagner hosted an individual print-sale on his platform as well. Wagner, a Minnesota native based in Austin as a freelance visual journalist, sold 63 prints priced at $50 each. He was able to donate $4,000 after printing costs were discounted by Printique by Adorama, a Brooklyn, New York based photo lab.
Wagner, while currently freelancing, was most recently a staff photographer for the Austin American-Statesman and recently fell victim to the latest round of layoffs by Gannett as a result of COVID-19.
"I've been overwhelmed by the support and generosity received since tweeting about the print drive with all profits benefiting Lake Street Council in Minneapolis," Wagner said to his followers. "LSC is a nonprofit that's helping small businesses, many of them minority owned, rebuild after being destroyed during protests in the wake of George Floyd's murder."
Any print in Wagner's eight image selection from Wagner's June 2 post, feed on Instagram [@wagsphoto] or website will be printed in a glossy or matte finish at 11 x 17.
This is Scarlett's first online print sale.
"For the first time I'm selling 8 x 10 prints for $40 shipped within the U.S. One hundred percent of the profits will go to a few organizations, funds helping Black owned businesses and communities to rebuild," Scarlett said in a statement via Instagram account [@gabescarlett]. "Looking now at one in Oakland and several in Minneapolis but I would love to hear other suggestions of needy groups."
Scarlett is a freelance photojournalist based in Northwest Ohio and the 73rd College Photographer of The Year with previous internships with Los Angeles Times, the Denver Post and National Geographic Magazine.
In each post from Scarlett and Hornsby, a selection of 10 images can be chosen. However, the print-sale was not limited to special request for another size or print on her Instagram page.
All proceeds from Hornsby's will go to the Louisville Community Bail Fund.
"[It] has been incredibly important as the community protests the death of Breonna Taylor and other who's have been killed by the police." Hornsby stated to followers and fans on their social media platforms.
Hornsby is a documentary photographer--focused on family and criminal justice-- and a Manhurin Honors College graduate from the Danish School of Media and Journalism within WKU, a recipient of awards from Kentucky Press Association and was College Photographer of The Year. More accolades include photo editor at Talisman Magazine and former intern at Gallup Independent, Tulsa World and Naples Daily News with work featured in New York Times, New York Magazine, NPR and College Heights Herald.
After attending Danish School of Media of Journalism where Hornsby said she was encouraged to follow her own interest and take creative risks, she questioned her goals as a photojournalist and artist. Adam Horchschild's narrative history of the antislavery movement in the United Kingdom, "Bury The Chains," inspired Hornsby. The book begins with an overview of slavery and the slave trade in 18th-century Britain and follows a group of British abolitionist activists, chronicling their successful campaigns to end slavery in the British Empire.
"It was the epilogue that moved me to tears," Hornsby said. "Activist Granville Sharp wrote that "the nature of the slave trade only needs to be believed to be abolished." This belief in power of human empathy was a concept he built his life upon working as a lawyer and organizer for 18 hours most days. His words made me grateful for my position as a journalist where I can use my skill-set to influence public opinion and policy."
According to the Louisville Community Bail Fund's website "cash bail is one of the aspects of the criminal justice system that keeps communities wrapped up in systemic slavery and in debt and its existence is not only to bail out but provide post-release support to get them from jail, fed and to a situation of safety." The website reads that the fund also focuses on preventative measures for those targeted by law enforcement and threatened with incarceration.
Hornsby, with an interest in history and social justice, said in the realm of photojournalism, she feels both comfortable and challenged. She wrote about her summer internship in Tulsa, Okla, on the National Press Photographers Foundation website.
"Throughout the summer, I met with families affected by the state's current policies regarding crime and punishment, all of whom taught something new," Hornsby wrote. "At the end of my internship, when I showed the photos to my mom at our kitchen table, she asked me questions about the people in them and we talked through problems regarding incarceration in our county. She talked about a friend and family member of ours who had their addictions criminalized, a topic previously undiscussed between us despite our connectedness to Eastern Kentucky's opioid epidemic."
Hornsby among several within the Bowling Green arts and music scene are actively donating to organizations in the movement, including through streams and online artist raffles. The fund organized by Black Lives Matter Louisville, states within two days from June 1-3 more than $3.5 million dollars was raised.
Tidball's Sounds and Spirits, while an independent live music venue affected by COVID-19 financially on its own used its platform and weekly streaming program organized by Yellowberri to fundraise $522 to Breonna Taylor Fund during its Motown/Marley/Soul Night week with recorded cover performances by Fat Box (Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On"), Josh Hines (The Supremes, "You Keep Me Hating On"), T-Rex (Kool & the Gang, "Jungle Boogie"), and much more. All past broadcast streams can be accessible below the videos tab on facebook.com/tidballs.
Following suit, WKU alumna, documentary filmmaker, photographer and Kentucky native Lauren Nolan [@laurenmnolan and laurenmnolan.com] based in New York City, used her platform to stand up against racism, police brutality and hate and matched a second goal of $2,500 ($5,000 total) to chosen organizations listed in a bio for organizations.
An online artist raffle, with Bowling Green local Lauren Culbreth as coordinator, benefits Black Lives Matter, specifically the Louisville Community Bail Fund. Local artists donate handmade pieces in four different categories. Raffles are $10 each. Information on the BLM Online Artist Raffle event is accessible at this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/s/blm-online-artist-raffle-bgky/276910083648523/
To see all work of photojournalists mentioned:
Wagner's portfolio is at nickwagnerphotos.com and Instagram [@wagsphoto], Scarlett's portfolio at www.gabrielscarlett.com and Instagram [@gabescarlett] and Hornsby's work is at www.morganhornsby.com and [@morganhornsby_]. Venmo information are online at their Instagram accounts mentioned. Another order date is possible.