Photographer Danielle Scruggs was one of the artists exhibited in Recession Art’s “No Money No Problems” back in October of 2009. For that show Danielle submitted photos from her series “The District”—images documenting what she had seen around her on her lunch breaks, while wandering the city, or attending various events in Washington D.C., where she is based. Over a year has passed since we last heard from her so we decided to check in…
Q: What have you been working on since then?
A: Since then, I began working on a self-portrait series. I actually started in January 2010 and worked on it throughout the entire year. I felt it was important to go back to myself, to explore why I felt slightly uncomfortable moving from documentary/street photography to self-portraiture, and to be a gatekeeper of sorts. To be someone who told one black woman’s story from the perspective of a black woman. I felt this was important to do because many representations of black women in the media aren’t really being told by black women. Which in turn, results in distorted and incomplete portrayals of women of black/African descent.
Q: Did your participation in the show (No Money No Problems) alter or affect your work like you hoped it would? How has your work evolved since then?
A: Definitely. In 2010, I showed my work in four truly exciting, engaging exhibits: the Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts Top 40 Juried Exhibition, We Are All Photographers Now! in Lausanne, Switzerland, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing (which was just extended an extra month to February 2011 at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC and FOCUS Group: Four Walls, Five Women at DC Arts Center, also in Washington DC. I also co-founded a photography collective, Mambu Badu, with fellow photographers/artists Kameelah Rasheed and Allison McDaniel. All of these opportunities have allowed me to share my work on a larger scale and put me in contact with other extraordinary artists who have inspired me and pushed me in ways I never could have predicted.
My work has evolved to include printing on non-traditional materials such as Mylar (which is usually used by architects for autoCAD drawings) and to print on a larger scale. The prints at DC Arts Center are five feet wide black and white portraits of myself. I’ve never printed at the scale before and it was so exciting to work with curator Zoma Wallace on pushing my photographs in that directions. My work has also evolved in that it is a reflection of my goal of being more intentional with my art and pretty much every other aspect of my life. It’s a reflection of my commitment to my photography.
Q: What new projects do you have in mind for the upcoming year?
I have so many different ideas and projects in mind. One project I’m in the midst of planning will involve combining photography, video interviews and an interactive social media element as well. I’m really interested in site-specific installations right now and combining my growing interests in feminism, Afrofuturism, history and the Black Arts Movement, as well as the growing role social media such as Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook have in our lives right now.
Q: Has the meaning of the word ‘recession’ changed for your since you showed with us? And is this something that is affecting your art?
A: I think for me, “recession” means simply finding another way to do what one has to do to not just survive, but thrive in an environment that may be discouraging or even hostile in response to those pursuits. It affects my art in terms of being open to change, open to improvisation, open to working harder and more creatively to get done what needs to get done.
See more from Danielle at: http://daniellescruggs.com/home.html