Tyinghe Fleming—creatively known as Reese—has been loved for her poetry, music and filmmaking for years. Last year, Reese decided to expand these creative talents even further to now include photography.
“I already had a camera and I would just take random pictures and not really take it seriously until people started telling me that I had an eye for it. I realized that photography was not about the camera or anything else, it’s really just about the photographer and what they do what they’re eye, and that made me get into it—wanting to make more than just a picture, wanting to make art, wanting to make people feel more when they look at a picture.” Reese
Reese shoots using both a digital and film camera, but all of her photographs are editorial, meaning that they look like they came straight from a magazine.
Reese explained this approach by saying “I don’t have an overall message, but I’m always just trying to show brown people in the most beautiful states. I try to find a location that best represents the person I’m shooting, and I try to give them the best outfit for it and everything to really just highlight them looking beautiful because we’re just such beautiful people. If I had an overall message it would just be that we’re beautiful, we’re out here and we can be professional. These are professional shots because I want to make Black kids look professional, look magazine worthy because they are.”
When first beginning her photography journey, Reese found it difficult to find people to shoot and was often discouraged by her lack of expensive equipment. However, as she has continued to work, she found this struggle to really be helpful because it has shown her how much she can do with so little. Now, she is inspired to continue to work that much harder so that she can eventually afford the equipment she wants to make even better art. To other aspiring artists, she said "Look at how much you can do with nothing. Imagine how much you'll be able to do with something."
Reese said that her favorite pictures are those which allow for viewers to feel like they are right next to the person being captured. She said, "I had this one picture, and she was actually one of my last photoshoots in New York this summer. The girl she is wearing euphoria-style makeup, and I’m studying right in front of her and you can see the lighting and you can see the definition of her curls and in her eye you can actually see me taking the photo. I’d say that all of my favorite pictures come from this summer because I have grown tremendously and really started to take it seriously.”
“Another favorite I have is with this guy from Atlanta, his name is Antione. In one of the shots he’s standing in front of the Brooklyn Bridge and he has is hands up covering his face and you can see the shadows on his face but the rest of him is well lit and the bridge is right behind him. You can see the detail of the whole city behind him. The other one, he’s holding himself up on this gate and he’s holding a scarf in front of his face, and you can see his face very clearly under the scarf but the scarf highlights colors on his face.”
In the future, Reese plans to move to Europe to open up her own studio and event space, where she will shoot her own projects and also allow other creatives to work on they projects. As a film major at Howard University, Reese also plans to direct moves centered around coming of age stories for brown kids.
You can see more of her photography by following her on Instagram @reeseshotit and @reesewitherblunt.