teenage boy for carefree black man project

Chasing Your Dreams Fearlessly?

What Would You Do if You Weren’t Afraid?

My friends ask this question often, and at first, I brushed them off because I thought I was already chasing my dreams fearlessly. But one day I realized I was living in a different kind of fear. I was not afraid to pick up my entire life and fit it and my kids in my Pathfinder to move across the country, but I was afraid to be fearless in my business. Fear kept playing it safe. Fear kept me from dreaming big.

My first big dream was in October of 2017 and it was totally unintentional. I went to New York with a sister-friend of mine for a gala for twitter users, and during our wandering, we ended up hitting up the Studio Museum in Harlem. Walking around looking at all the beautiful art made me re-evaluate what I was doing as an artist. I had worked so hard to build my business, but I had disconnected from my art. When we got back to the Air BnB that evening, I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be in a museum within 2 years. I had decided that the first step was to start creating from a place of passion. I forgot about what I wrote in that journal but decided to start creating.

Walking Towards the Dream

The first thing I decided to do was take self-portraits. I have been a natural light photography for the entirety of my career, so my self-portraits were to practice studio lighting. So I grabbed my Godox AD200 and a softbox and started photographing myself. I was finally starting to feel creative again. Those self-portraits have changed how I view my business and the way I shoot. Now, my self-portraits will be the main images you’ll see on my website instead of clients. I let my clients know that it’s okay to not want to share their images. So I share mine.

Ivan looking at camera in rabans chasing his dreams

Running!

Then I decided to start another project with men in mind, called (care)Free Black Man. This project is still ongoing, but it has changed my life and how I use art to see life. This project got the recognition from a curator in New York and before I knew it, I was being asked to be apart of their gallery showing. I didn’t ask where the gallery was, I was just flattered they were asking. So months go by, and I finally get the letter stating that I’d be featured in the African Museum in Philidelphia for their showing MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora presents, In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity for 6 months. Now listen, when I tell you I wanted to cry… The gallery showing was 5 days before the 2-year anniversary of when I wrote the declaration in my journal. I dared to dream big, then ran towards them unknowingly.

MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora presents, In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity Toni Black facing her fears

Facing Your Fears

My first big dream turned into a goal and I gotta tell you, it felt AMAZING! Since then I’ve been really considering my fears. I consider what is causing them, how they make me feel, how they make me view myself and how

So let me ask you… What would you do if you weren’t afraid? How would you fearlessly chase your dreams?

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