Dog Star tries to write about art but we still believe the visual arts must be seen to be engaging and appreciated. Powerful images grab you by the collar and, like a bully or a lover, pull you closer.
Other images, no less powerful but maybe less aggressive, slowly sink into you over time so that you see the images again in your mind and realize later that they had a deep effect on you. Either way these are images with IMPACT. We know them we see them and more importantly we FEEL them when we see them.
This is how we felt when we first saw Khalik Allah's tumblr featuring his NYC street photography. He takes photographs that urgently, expressively and emotionally have a powerful impact on the viewer. We have chosen TEN of his photographs to feature on Dog Star. We have permission from the photographer to post these images.
He is also unique because he shoots with film and avoids digital cameras: "I love photography and shooting digital, for me, ain’t an option. I’d be lost without film."
We asked him to complete these statements:
Often times I have to lead my subjects into the light, whether it be a street light, or the light coming out of a corner store. I photograph many impoverished people who've fallen down in life mainly by lacking self-knowledge and not trusting their own inner light. So I lead them into the light literally, but it holds another meaning for me."
"... love it of course. You'll never know the full story of the photographs I make unless I tell you, but often times there are deep conversations between my subjects and myself. We go deep in five minutes of conversation. There are things I see that stick with me. When people see my work I just want them to feel it. I pour my heart out in the streets. Photography is a sport to me. A blood sport sometimes."
When people see my work I want them to...
"...I'm never vulnerable. Where I photograph there is no room to be vulnerable. I keep a calm heart. I look, listen, watch my back and observe. I use fear as a tool to keep me aware. Fear can become vulnerability if you worry. I trust the God in me. My photography is coming from a good place. Sometimes people think I'm a FED but then I dispel that illusion. I love people and fear always yields to love. Photography brings me closer to my brother."I am at most vulnerable when...
Someone once said that one of the worse things you can do is write about a painting (explaining it or analyzing what it means) and we think it's also true of photography. Khalik himself is the best source anyway:
"Khalik Allah is a feeling; a smell. I was raised on the trains, and on the roofs cutting school. The streets raised me, and for that I’m indebted. I owe the streets my voice, but some people speak through their eyes instead of their mouth. I do this for all children without parents, and for the parents that gave birth to still children. For me there was no option; film was the only way to go, it absorbs and not just duplicates. I’m twenty-seven but I feel about forty. Everything I do is from the Heart. I live my life in a way to exemplify the Father in Heaven. I take my pictures right where he placed me."