When Living is a Protest

When Living is a Protest

Radcliffe Roye

60 years ago, just marching was considered an act of protest. Actually, in 1969, a group of young men burnt down 40 buildings in the town of Clinton South Carolina, after feeling that the pressure put on them by the Ku Klux Klan was too much to bear. That was their protest.


Thankfully, I have been able to grow up on the backs, sweat, and blood of those who made strides and steps in the direction that enabled me to do something other than pick cotton and chop sugar cane.


However, this life is not without its scars – there are still memories and vestiges of the toll — the struggle — had on a race of people still trying to find equality in this country. Recently, news of Black men and women being killed by some members of law enforcement has raised the consciousness of this country to see how black folks have been living. With the increase in social media platforms and the use of smart phones to both document and record everyday life, the United States and the World on a whole are seeing first hand the evidence of complaints that can be traced back to the death of Emmett Till.


In 2015, I walk around Brooklyn, South Carolina, Mississippi, Memphis, Manhattan, and Ferguson, photographing, recording and reading the tales of those whose living is a testimony to this ongoing struggle.


This exhibition is my attempt to show a glimpse into what it means to live in ‘the struggle.’ From photographing everyday life in places like South Carolina, Memphis, and Mississippi, and documenting some of the tumultuous protests from the streets of Ferguson and New York City, I show you the faces of those whose lives are spent in protest.

Photo by Alan Winslow

About Radcliffe Roye

Radcliffe Roye is a Brooklyn-based documentary photographer specializing in editorial and environmental portraits, and photo-journalism. The photographer, who has over fifteen years of experience, is inspired by the raw and gritty lives of grass-roots people, especially those of his homeland of Jamaica. Radcliffe strives to tell the stories of their victories and ills by bringing their voices to social media and matte-fiber paper.


Radcliffe has worked with magazines like the New York Times, Vogue, Jet, Ebony, ESPN, and Essence and has also worked with local newspapers like New York Newsday. Radcliffe honed his skill as a photojournalist by working as an Associated Press stringer in New York covering journalism events. He is also known for his documentation of the dancehall scene all over the world. He has travelled to as far as Brazzaville in the Congo to document how Jamaicans and other dancers use the language of dance as a tool of activism.


Recently, Radcliffe began experimenting with interpretative photography, preferring to allow the abstract content within the frame to dictate the voice and purpose of the image. His ‘Elements’ series focuses on Pictorialism, and the blurry picture as a way of transmitting graphic and emotionally raw imagery that are trapped behind a diffused lens. With painterly abilities, Radcliffe uses this diffused methodology to subtly awake the subconscious and expose the isolated figure or vision painted within a rhetorical frame.


Radcliffe has also been instrumental in leading the Instagram charge as a photographer showcasing his interest in his community of Bed-Stuy and Brooklyn as a whole. The images he portrays in his ‘Black Portraiture’ or ‘I Can’t Breathe’ series have been the talking point of numerous forums on Instagram. He was asked to take over the New Yorker Instagram feed when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the eastern shores in October 2012. Since then, Radcliffe has been worked with New York University, the School of Visual Arts, and is also an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University; engaging in conversations with photography students on the rise of Instagram and the changing face of photojournalism. Radcliffe’s work is widely sought after for exhibitions all over the world. Most recently he was featured on the New York Times Lens Blog.

Presented by

United Photo Industries