Jah Grey is a self-taught photographic artist primarily focused on portraiture. He began taking photos with a “point and shoot” at a young age and has kindled a love of the visuals of classical photography into a full time career. Inspired by exploring his own vulnerabilities and the vulnerabilities of those around him, Jah skillfully uses the power of his photographic images to share the deep and meaningful stories behind his subjects. Fascinated by light and how it can impact a photograph, Jah actively remains unafraid to expand himself as an artist. Jah is on a dedicated journey to live his truth and depict it through photography.
Jah’s work acts to educate and encourage society to unlearn the teachings that act to separate us in order to advocate for a more fluid and diverse world. Systems of oppressions have been created to ensure that certain folks who aren’t considered the ‘norm’ continue to be the most unwanted, undesired, and unprotected of the races. By focusing on challenging these concepts, his photos bravely remind all of us of the similarities we share, despite our differences. Jah Grey’s digital portraits encourage us all to live out loud and not feel silenced or shamed around our bodies but feel able to express ourselves in any way we choose.
Jah Grey’s photographs have been featured in several exhibits across Ontario. He had the pleasure of collaborating with community organizations in Toronto such as Manifesto, Long Winter and My City My Story. Most recently he had the honor of showcasing at the AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario in conjuction with the Michaelle Jean Foundation showing two images form his most recent series. Jah Grey’s photographs consistently remain rooted in the struggle for social justice and his innovative style of photography redefines the social norms of gender, race, and sexuality and poignantly pushes against the constructs others place on our bodies and personal identities.
The message in my art is about challenging and redefining the social norms of masculinity and rebelling against the constructs others place on our bodies and our identities. My images capture the relationship between body and space, showcasing the struggle between the idealized norm vs. the desired embodiment. I strive to explore the disconnect between the concept of masculinity and vulnerability. Society often assumes a notion of masculinity (or hyper-masculinity within a cishet society) which normalizes the idea that men cannot be vulnerable, while overlooking men who choose to make their vulnerability visible. I choose to fight this in my work by photographing black men who do not fit the label of hyper-masculinity imposed upon them. I feel we often let society control and dictate who we are, where we belong and who we need to be and forget to carve out new spaces in ourselves for change, growth and evolution.
Constantly conforming to the ideals of society forces us to forget about ourselves. We all experience varying levels of alienation, erasure and self-erasure due to complex systems of oppression, set in place particularly to be critical of the black body. My portraits will encourage us all to live out loud and not feel silenced or shamed around our bodies, but feel able to express ourselves in any way we choose, to remind us all of the similarities we share despite our differences. I aim to deconstruct this problematic binary to remind the viewer that by confronting their fears about their bodies, it enables us to embrace everything that we are, as individuals and as a community, encouraging the practice and process of self-love.