Sun, Jun

Conceptual art photographer Delaney George

Camera Club

George’s work has been on display at Gallery 90220 in South Los Angeles.

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By Jason Lewis

The guest presenter at the May Los Angeles Standard Newspaper Camera Club meeting was conceptual art photographer Delaney George, whose body of work showcases powerful imagery of Black women.

George is a native of New Orleans, where she attended Xavier University of Louisiana and majored in mass communications/media studies.  Her work has been in art galleries across the nation and in several mainstream magazines.  

George’s home city of New Orleans is very colorful and vibrant with an abundance of Black culture, and that has influenced her work.  She used those elements to display Black women in a specific manner.

“I created a body of work that represented how I view Black women and the Black women that I grew up with,” she said.  “And how I see the power, and the being, and the essence, of a Black woman.  I highlight the parts of Black women that were commonly demonized, especially in my own experience with having discrimination in the workplace against hair, accessories, and anything that we use to express ourselves being looked at as a bad thing, or a ghetto thing, or an improper thing.  I’m using that to uplift Black women and tell the story in a different kind of way.  Or show a Black woman who is enlightened about all of these things that she shows.  Black women in New Orleans are extremely expressive in many ways, especially with their style and their personality.”

A large portion of photography is capturing moments, but George has vivid ideas that she seeks to bring to life.  

“I consider myself as a conceptual photographer,” she said.  “I tried every medium from candid, nature, documentary; all of that.  But I often have dreams and come up with different concepts for imagery that I want to create.  I even sleep with a notepad next to my bed.  Most of my work is very conceptual, or an ode to the past, where I’m reimagining modern figures in spaces or times where they weren’t commonly photographed or commonly spoken for.”

Conceptual art can be hit or miss based on the photographer’s technical skills with the camera.  But George has gone through the trials and errors by trying out different cameras, lenses, studio lighting systems, and she has worked extensively inside the studio as well as outdoors with natural light.

“As my interest started to pique, I would collaborate with the local photographers in New Orleans,” she said.  “I would go out on shoots with them and rent out their studios.  I was interested in high fashion and editorial photography, wondering how were they shooting these magazine covers.  What cameras are they using?  Do they have a team of people?  What is the difference between what I am doing and what I’m seeing in publications and things that I was inspired by?”

George would also control all of the elements to ensure that her visions were created in the way that she saw them.  She would select the models, location, wardrobe, props, background, and equipment.  

“All of these elements are being controlled by me,” she said.  “It’s a story that I’m telling or a picture that I’m painting, and I’m using photography to do it.  My work is always going to be unapologetically me, and in that way, it’s conceptualized.  It has a story, a purpose, and a meaning.  And all of it is coming from ideas that are sourced from or that are personal to me.”

Delaney George standing next to one of her photographs at Gallery 90220.

One of her many career goals is to help other Black photographers improve their skills and get their work into art galleries.  

“In art as a whole, I always tell people that you need to be creating images or creating anything that in art that you want to see,” George said.  “So regardless of my audience or my critics, I’m inviting them into my brain and into my heart.  This is my heart on display for everybody else.  This is the type of stuff that I think about.  This is what’s in my creative playbook.  Whether it gets framed or not, or ends up in an art show or not, or sells or not, it’s going to be created because I had to get these ideas off of me.”

George’s work can be viewed by visiting www.delaneygeorge.com.  Follow her on Instagram to see when and where her work will be displayed in Los Angeles.