check out our girl al janae hamilton: short portfolio vol. 2, winter 2010
her work is amazing! her beautiful spirit resonates in everything she produces. she shared her latest portfolio with us (check out the video below).
first, a few words about her inspiration for the film/photo portfolio:
People get confused when I tell them I'm from Miami. I fry green tomatoes just because it's Tuesday, without warning my speech lapses into a slow country drawl, and I hum hymns and spirituals like a sport. My dad's job took our immediate family to Miami when I was five but once you stepped into our front doorway, it felt way more like the Deep South than South Beach. You see, my parents grew up in the country. My dad's grandparents were tobacco sharecroppers in the Carolinas and my mother's people, planters in rural Tennessee.
I spent most childhood summers visiting my mother's side in Tennessee, where my grandmother and her sisters lived on a farm in three side-by-side houses. Aunt Sammie and Uncle J.D. lived at the far end, Aunt Joe in a tiny green house in the middle, and my Grandmother Helen and Aunt Lean lived closest to the town road. They made persimmon beer, muscadine wine and jelly, and grew an impressive soy bean crop. They raised hogs for the smokehouse. Uncle J.D. trained bird dogs and farm-raised fish in his pond. As a kid, I fed guinea hens and learned to shuck and silk corn. I helped my grandmother burn the trash because there was no garbage pick-up service. My cousins and I caught lightening bugs (you may call them fireflies) every night. There was one gas pump in town, no traffic lights, and you waved at people who drove by the house-- whether you knew them or not.
Over the years, things began to change. People got older, cousins moved to the big cities (Jackson or Nashville), my aunts Sammie, Joe, and Lean passed. Each trip, there were fewer animals and crops. The sprawling farm fields were eventually reduced to a medium-sized garden-- easier for my grandmother and Uncle J.D., both aging, to tend. My most recent trip out there was last month for the Christmas holiday. Uncle J.D. passed away a couple of weeks later. This spring, I'll be heading back to help my grandmother plant the bean crop.
This video is a compilation of photos and video footage from my recent trip, as well as photos taken between the ages of 12 and 13 (childhood photos featured from 3:04 to 4:11 on video). I feel humbled and blessed to have been given the opportunity to record these images. Please enjoy :)