Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson photographed by Lerani Foster.
Photo: Lelanie Foster /
The White House has just released the first portrait of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson after confirmation of her historic bipartisan Senate. This portrait was taken Friday morning by Bronx-born photographer Lelanie Foster. Foster, who mainly shoots images of black women, was carefully selected on this occasion. “Lelaney’s unique perspective and delicate approach to her subject enable images that reflect intimately warm and organic moments in the most delicate human way,” Whitehouse writes. Officially.
In her confirmation today, Jackson thanked her family, legal staff, her high school debate team, Miami Palmetto High School, Barack Obama, and her daughters, among others. But nothing has brought me more joy than being your mother. The notes she received from her children are particularly meaningful and speak of her hopes and promises. “It took 232 years and 115 pre-appointments for a black woman to be elected to the US Supreme Court. But we did that. We could. All of us.” Jackson said she He added that it was a “slave’s dream and hope.”
Pairing makes a lot of sense. Foster explores sisterhood and community themes through her images.She is known for her work of taking pictures of her movies Queen & Slim Similar to celebrity photos including Andra Day in this magazine.
“My photographic work explores the themes and complexity of identity, beauty and femininity through the lens of my experience as a black, Caribbean, multi-ethnic, Latina raised in New York City,” she said. Writes on a website called LensCulture.
We talked to Foster, who was at the White House on this historic day.
Just before Judge Jackson was confirmed by the Supreme Court to be the first black woman, I took a picture and called me from inside the White House after becoming part of history. Please tell us a little about your current mood.
My heart is racing and I’m running for an hour of sleep. I’m trying to take it all in and exist and not be distracted by all the production as a whole. I lead me to this point by really focusing on what this means and all the women who came before me, the black women. All the people who came before Judge Jackson, led her to her point, and allowed her to stretch herself to me and put me in her space — I did it. I’m trying to reflect on everything and take it all in and cherish it.
I can hear in your voice how excited you are. Imagine your adrenaline running. How did you feel when you had the opportunity to take a picture of Judge Jackson?
It was a complete shock, and then all kinds began to settle down, and I felt all the honor and gratitude. Then came the pressure like, Alright, take this shot.. I started thinking about everything I wanted to say in the image and everything I wanted to express in the image. These things are put together very quickly. It’s different from other shoots with lots of plans. For example, when can you scout the White House? you know what i mean?
But one of the most amazing things about it was that it was a really perfect circle moment as I stopped working on this project for New York. Times Actually, it came out yesterday morning.
A black woman from her alma mater, Harvard, is celebrating her victory, right?
Yes, I’ve just finished working on the project, and while I’m finishing editing with the editor, I’ve been spending time with these amazing women at Harvard. They are the next wave. They are the future and are chasing behind her. Spent the day with 22 amazing, exciting and incredible black women and stories of all sorts about how they got there.
It was challenging for them. But it’s very emotional to experience their sisterhood through all that, experience how they helped each other, stay in the room with them and see them hype each other through shots. It was a target.
Please guide me to shoot.
It took a total of two and a half hours to enter the White House. I always advocate having as much time as possible, setting up, turning off the lights together, etc. We welcomed her for about 45 minutes, which was a blessing. At first I thought it wasn’t that long, but it was full of joy and smiles. She came with her family, her husband, and two daughters.
I have some Sadeplayin, g and asked her if she wanted to hear it. For me, Sade always calms me down before shooting. It was a nice atmosphere and she loved it. She said, “Let’s stick to this.” There was a song that she really felt and started dancing. I’m so angry and I can’t remember which one, but we played Sade for 45 minutes.
We took her to the monitor, warmed up and told her that she was part of the whole process. “Give your blessings to these pictures, be happy with them, and get involved in it,” I told her, and it was the effort of her entire family. Her daughters came to the monitor and said, “Mom, do this,” and her husband was in tears. At one point I asked, “What do you guys think?” Her husband’s reaction was “She is beautiful-she is always beautiful” and she wept in his eyes while watching with her pride. He also pointed to me and told his daughters, “It looks like excellence.” It really made my day.
I love it. You are what excellence looks like. This sounds like a very emotional yet fulfilling moment for everyone in attendance. Taking pictures of black women is your niche and this is a big moment for black women across the country. What is your vision when shooting us?
It’s always about dignity. It’s always about calm. It’s always about strength, dignity, and remorse. It is the light of my guidance when shooting us. It’s also the way I guide the shoot with us — I mean with anyone, but it’s definitely a principle. And it’s important to express those feelings while we’re taking pictures. By doing so, I and the subject will be connected. That’s what we’re trying to create.
You definitely capture them all in your images and, of course, in today’s portraits. What does this appointment mean to you as a black woman?
That’s a lot of things. The visuals of seeing someone in those shoes and in place are powerful for everyone else to follow. Whether or not they reach her position, it is very empowering and encouraging for the rest of us to see. I had previously told someone to think about all the people who came before her, and then how she would leave her footprints and make room for others. The visuals of our existence affirm thinking about the people who come after me. It’s about keeping these spaces open, whether it’s politics or photography, and knowing that it’s possible and accessible is groundbreaking.
This interview has been edited and summarized for clarity.