To Be Here by Kory Jean Kingsley

After living in Savannah, Georgia for the past four years, the young American photographer Kory Jean Kingsley has developed a connection with the locals and culture of the Southeast. Every photograph included in her most recent series ‘To Be Here’ exists as a testament to the ease with which cultural barriers can be broken down. By pairing portraits of black males with images of the flowers that bloom yearly throughout Savannah’s parks and sidewalks, Kingsley seeks to direct the spectator’s attention to underline the beauty of African American culture as an important part of American society. A beautiful aesthetic statement in these troubled times in the United States.

During my time in Georgia, I developed a connection with the local people and culture of the Southeast. Soon after I started living in Savannah I became more aware of the fact that the community that I was apart of was deeply rooted in African American history. From there I began exploring my relationship with the surrounding residents (usually men) by taking their photographs.

I found that the photos came more naturally with men because often women wanted their portraits to be staged and anticipated. I quickly befriended these men and gained their trust by explaining my motives as a photographer. When photographing for the series, I would visit the local basketball court and stay after dark to photograph the players and share some laughs when they joked around.

Just around the corner from my apartment there was a house where groups of families would sit outside and visit with one another, warmly welcoming me as I passed by. Occasionally, I would stop by the local barber shop “Jazzy Cutz,” and exchange stories with the barbers, or step out my front door and see smiling children playing near the street. These places are where I found companionship and trust when I was taking photos. After leaving Georgia, I feel fulfilled knowing that I created these bonds with many people for whom Savannah is home.


Kory Jean Kingsley is a young photographer, born in 1993, currently living and working in southern Vermont. She received her B.F.A. from the Savannah College of Art and Design in May of 2015. Using medium and large format film, she is most attracted to the ephemeral aspects of light. She has exhibited her work at various venues around the United States and internation- ally including Cairo, Egypt & Southern France. She is an editor for Aint-Bad Magazine, as well as a guest contributor for one of our favorite inspirational blogs; Booooooom.

For more information and work by Kory Jean Kingsley see here.