Members of the Richmond-based photography collective, the Wild Bunch, answer our call to share their insights and experiences ahead of Norfolk exhibition.

Merriam-Webster defines the word movement in a number of ways, the most apt for our purpose being a series of organized activities working toward an objective, or an organized effort to promote or attain an end. There is much to draw from the definition as it pertains to the events that began to unfold around the country at the end of May, immediately following the barbaric killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis, MN police officers.* The status quo of unjust treatment towards Black people in the United States was coming into sharp focus in our streets and across our smartphones. The movement towards equality that had already been going on for a long time was suddenly energized in a way we’ve never seen before.

In Richmond, the capital city of Virginia and former capital of the confederacy, what started at the end of May and continues today is being documented in part by a photography collective who call themselves the Wild Bunch. Having witnessed the very good, the bad, and even the ugliest parts of the streets, the Wild Bunch’s exhibition titled “Our Streets” is one of the largest collections of movement photography ever assembled in the state of Virginia. There is much to read about the Wild Bunch and the upcoming “Our Streets” exhibition in this article in the Virginian-Pilot so we at Popscure decided to highlight a couple of their members to discuss the processes, motivations, and lessons learned from their practice. With a Q&A conducted by executive editor Tyler Warnalis, we introduce to you Keshia Eugene and MarQuise Crockett. Read on and be sure to check out “Our Streets” at the Slow Dive Gallery, opening this Friday October 30th. Spoiler alert: the movement is not over.


Keshia Eugene @chocolatekesh

Documenting the chorus of “enough”

Courtesy of Keshia Eugene
First off, could you please tell us about your artistic/photographic background?

I began technical shooting as teenager, with a film camera. Yet as a kid I loved disposable and Polaroid cameras and experienced genuine joy from seeing the photographic results. Since 10th grade having a camera in my purse was hobby that turned habit. So basically what you will see me photograph are reflections of my passions such as live music, candids of hang outs or communal events.

When the protests first started in Richmond, I’d imagine there was something in you that said, “I need to document this.” Could you tell us about that motivation and how you involved yourself? 

Due to science, I didn’t feel comfortable marching in masses, and I have spent many years protesting in different cities. The collections of photos you will see from me will be more of the unfamiliar forms of protest like the teach-ins and the transformation of reclaimed space of Marcus David-Peters Circle— this is important to show. There is such uniqueness to speak or express through art here in Richmond, the former tainted heart of the confederacy, and prominent slave drop-off; it was necessary to document our chorus of “enough”.

Courtesy of Keshia Eugene
While documenting crowds, engaging with people you may not know, and perhaps even putting yourself in tense situations, what sorts of things did you encounter that our readers may or may not have expected?

People are rude. Even if they may be on your side. I’ve seen a lot disrespect towards black women in general during Say Her Name demonstrations. In some cases it did spark some conversation but some people truly don’t seek to understand. Or performative protestors who are doing this for the first time and making it more of a social event and not focusing on the initiative; it’s mad irritating but this is my life and validation so I keep my head straight.

What do you think you learned in the process of photographing the protests that you could share with our readers?

My biggest takeaway is my new lost respect of black leaders in Richmond who allowed police to torment the entire city and instead of engaging in true conversation they played safe for political gain and more conservative relationships. Not sure who they are representing because it’s not the common Richmond resident and it’s like this in too many states and cities.

Courtesy of Keshia Eugene
What do you hope to communicate to the viewer through your photographs?

If you feel uncomfortable in the streets find different ways to share your disapprovals and thoughts for equitable change.

Finally, as a member of the Wild Bunch and a citizen of Richmond, the United States, and the world, what does the title “Our Streets” mean to you?

A reminder that origins of Monument Avenue, which was first set to segregate, will soon be dismantled. Things are going to change our way, in our streets.

Courtesy of Keshia Eugene

MarQuise Crockett @_innervator

A gravitational pull to be on the streets

Courtesy of MarQuise Crockett
Could you tell us about your artistic background? What led you to start using a camera as your preferred means of expression? What sorts of things are you typically photographing?

I was raised by my great grandparents Vernon and Dorothy Crockett who had deep roots in the Baptist church community in Richmond, VA. Not going to church wasn’t an option on Sunday. I first started singing in the youth choir and did it for the majority of my childhood. Then in middle school I was introduced to the lever harp and later graduated to playing the pedal harp in high school, as well as playing the 5th bass in my high school high step marching band. [As far as photography goes] even at a young age I was kind of obsessed with old family albums. I was in love with the idea of having tangible memories. The love came full circle a few years later when I was gifted my first camera, a Canon EOS Rebel t3i. I’ve been learning ever since. I don’t have a preferred thing to shot I just love to create content. However, landscapes were my first love.

When the protests first started in Richmond, I’d imagine there was something in you that said, “I need to document this.” What compelled you to hit the streets with your camera?

I don’t know what made George Floyd’s death different from all the others, but I had a gravitational pull to be on the streets, to let my voice be heard and tell the real stories of what’s happening on the ground. I remember reading a quote “Would you rather be at war with yourself and at peace with the world OR at peace with yourself and at war with the world?” Every time I turn on the TV, or look on social media, or even walking in my everyday life I’m constantly reminded that the world is and has been at war with black and brown people.

Courtesy of MarQuise Crockett
While documenting crowds, engaging with people you may not know, and perhaps even putting yourself in tense situations, what sorts of things did you encounter that our readers may or may not have expected?

Being on the ground for the first time was intense, the air is electric with emotions, the sea of signs and messages, megaphones singing chants, trailing cars blasting “Fuck Donald Trump.” It was a lot to take in, but what I also experienced was a real sense of community. There were so many tents of people in and around the circle. Whether if it was for making free masks, food, medical attention, liberation education, music, and sanitation – the PEOPLE proved that it could provide for its community.

What do you think you may have learned in the process of photographing the protests that you could share with our readers? (This could be either technically related to your photography or on a more humanitarian or societal level)

I’m learning that outside of taking photos and being passionate about my craft and telling important compelling stories through my art form that getting connected to the community and the leaders who have been doing this work is just as important if not more important.

Courtesy of MarQuise Crockett
What do you hope to communicate to the viewer through your photographs?

I want to convey the truth of what really transpired this summer. Its important for people to engage with these images and see what we experienced this summer at the hands of RPD, VSP, VCU PD, and Capitol police, the sense of community, and the fight that is STILL being fought on our street.

Finally, as a member of the Wild Bunch and a citizen of Richmond, the United States, and the world, what does the title “Our Streets” mean to you?

“Our Streets” means another chapter in the struggle for equity and equality – a story as old as the American experience itself.

Courtesy of MarQuise Crockett

“Our Streets” opens to the public on Friday, October 30 at the Slow Dive Gallery in Norfolk, VA and will continue to be on view for several weeks following, both during normal business hours and by appointment. More information on the opening, including the link to RSVP for your specific time slot on Friday or Saturday, can be found here.

*All of this coming mere months after Breonna Taylor was killed in her home by Louisville, KY police and Ahmaud Arbery was pursued and fatally shot by white men while jogging near his home in Brunswick, GA and the list goes on and we should know their names and say them.

Posted by:Tyler Warnalis

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