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The Undefeated and Getty Images Launch Exclusive Photo Series Showcasing Black Culture

Black Gaze debuts today on The Undefeated; four photographers explain how they approached assignments involving East and West Coast roller skating, kickball and cycling

Earlier this year, The Undefeated and Getty Images announced a visual collaboration with an emphasis on showcasing the strength, innovation, and excellence of Black culture entitled Black Gaze. Topics etched on storyboard mounts, developed into photos, and creative videos have been edited for a Dec. 6 launch.

The Black Gaze photo series comes to life, focusing on the joy found in cycling around Detroit, a kickball league in Alabama, and various roller-skating styles on the East and West Coasts.

“Cycling, kickball, and roller skating are just the beginning of several topics we have in this engaging photo series,” said Raina Kelley, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, The Undefeated. “We are also researching additional topics to complement the overall theme of inclusivity within Black Gaze.”

The first iteration of stories was produced by The Undefeated with the Visual Storytelling division of ESPN Creative Studio. They worked with four different photographers to create the portfolio. After each photo shoot, the photographers were asked to participate in a Q&A about the project.

Read excerpts below; the full story is available on theundefeated.com.

 

How did you set out to capture joy in this assignment?

 


Anthony Geathers (Roller Magic – Waterbury, Conn.):

“Anytime you mix roller skating and 1970s-90s R&B, those two things always bring happiness and confidence because that type of music brings out love, intimacy, and joy in Black people to skate with their partner(s) and friends. The confidence comes from being able to skate as if you can walk on water. I grew up seeing Black roller skating in my Brooklyn neighborhood and the music in my household, so this was me reliving my childhood.”


Justin Milhouse (Cycling – Detroit):

“I made sure to connect with the different cycling groups by having conversations with the riders and genuinely building relationships, which made them feel comfortable in front of the camera. That way I was able to capture authentic emotions of joy and happiness through my photography.”


Tamika Moore (Legion Field Kickball League – Birmingham, Ala.):

“Scenes of jubilation were everywhere, so setting out to capture joy was as easy as stepping foot inside the stadium. The stadium is home to the largest HBCU football classic in the country, and I felt that similar energy and joy on a smaller scale walking in to cover the matches the first time.”


Tara Pixley (Roller Skating, Venice Beach – Los Angeles)

“I remember the freedom I felt as a child when I would strap on my roller skates and fly across the pavements of my neighborhood or the well-worn floors of rinks in suburban Atlanta. I’d also been eyeing the uptick in roller dancers on social media during the COVID lockdown, wanting so badly to both pick up skating again and photograph this unique form of movement. Black and brown folks have always used movement, dance, and creative expression to survive tragedy or rise above the oppressive forces of our everyday lives. I wanted to visualize that, showcase the free love vibes of Venice Beach alongside the brilliance of this roller dancing community. Just witnessing the freedom and joy this art form elicits was so inspiring and elating, the images practically took themselves.”

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