Photographer Jaimie Milner Highlights the Voice of Black Men Through Her Book ‘Gifted'
Gifted is the product of over ten years of interviews conducted by photographer Jaimie Milner. Milner is based in Los Angeles, California, and attended the University of Southern California, where she received her BA in communication. Noted in a press statement, while at USC, Milner “learned about the portrayal of race, gender, and sexuality in the media and the effects it has on our individual perceptions and our society at large.” Her roots in photography come from taking a photography elective in high school and expanding upon her craft as the years went by. Through her communication background and love of photography, Milner combined her two passions and began to create a unique bond between photographs and the stories of the people behind them.
Milner says that the inspiration behind her book came out of not seeing people like her father or her friends reflected in the media. She said, “I wanted to show that these men exist - men that cared, that were smart.” Stemming from curiosity, she started the project in 2010 to familiarize herself with Black men’s dreams and fears. Over time, Milner realized how this could turn into a platform for their truths. Milner’s hope for Gifted “is not to change the view of others, but to ignite pride through positive imagery that reminds black men of the undeniable talent and influence they possess,” she mentioned.
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Gifted will feature 40 Black men who have made strides in the arts, business, politics, and finance. Some of the amazing men featured are Kris Bowers (Bridgerton), David Oyelowo (Selma), Michael Strautmanis (Obama Foundation), Hisham Tawfiq (The Blacklist), Chris Lyons (Andreessen Horowitz), Nate Parker (American Skin), Dean Garfield (Netflix), and Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II), and more. In addition, Oyelowo is featured on the book’s cover.
In her book, Milner asks these men five questions:
- Who are you?
- In your opinion, what is the myth and truth of Black men?
- How do you feel about the state of Black men today, and what would you like to see change?
- As a Black man, what do you need in your life to succeed?
- How do Black women aid in the progression of Black men?
These questions and answers open up a discussion of today's Black male experience and identity. With 200 pages in an elegant hardcover bound, Gifted makes for the perfect coffee table book that will allow you and your guests at home to dive deep into the minds of these men and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of them. Gifted will be released later this month. Click here to preorder a copy.