Denise Allen: “My Son Matters”

Part of our “Art and Artists are Essential” collection and invitation.

Freelance and documentary photographer Denise Allen shares a photography exhibit she created entitled “My Son Matters.”

“‘My Son Matters’ consist of portraits of African American single mothers and their sons accompanied by written declarations. This exhibits elevates and honors the relationship between African American mothers and their sons while shining a loving light on the young men whose existence is often stigmatized.” — Denise Allen

“I talk back to a world that often dictates how one should think, feel, and exist,” says Allen. “My projects are collaboration between my subjects and me. I elevate and honor the people in my photographs, shining a loving light on stigmatized bodies and lives. I enlist the viewer as a witness, as someone who might talk back.”

Navigate through the portraits in the gallery below to read the statements that parents have provided discussing their sons, parenting, and race in America in relationship to one another.

“One thing that I have realized and have shared with Jordan is that the only way that he is going to survive and succeed in this world will be in spite of everything: in spite of how the world values his life, in spite of the prejudice that he will encounter and in spite of all odds. In racially biased confrontations, he has to stay calm and realize that it is not about him.” — Denise Allen (pictured with her son Jordan)

Denise Allen is a freelance/documentary photographer. Learn more about Allen and her work.