PHOTOS BY BRADLEY LEACH
Dancer, writer, and director Weléla Mar Kindred radiates peace and warmth. Her presence is like a hug. I met her in Paris a few years ago, and my life has been all the sweeter because of our meeting. Last year I invited her to spend a week with me in a mini-residency. Each morning I woke to gentle music, and she would make me tea and lead me in quiet morning rituals. I guess it was I who benefited from the residency. Weléla is the choreographer and artistic director for LVMB (pronounced LAMB), a sensual dance theater “where performers experiment with conceptual ideologies and explore the human story,” and during our tea-sharing, she taught me a lot about her life as an African-American woman in France. She opened up my imagination and introduced me to new and challenging ideas (and to the poetry of Yasiin Bey). Before she left Paris, we shot a photo series with Bradley Leach. Since then Culture Keeper contributor Linda Swan has spent time formally interviewing Weléla, the fruit of which we’ll publish next week.
-- Jonathan Randall Grant, Culture Keeper Creative Director
Bradley Leach is a Paris-based narrative and fashion photographer and videographer with a fetish for the ‘80s-‘90s, 35mm film, and grunge lifestyle. His photos often portray an emphasized sense of vibrant colors and utilize harsh, on-camera flash to achieve a playfully rebellious result.
PHOTOS AND TEXT BY LAURA ROCKETT
When a wedding photographer becomes an elopement photographer, blending in becomes impossible. Read how Laura Rockett took on the role of chronicler and tour guide for one couple’s big day in New Orleans and peak inside their luscious wedding album.
BY JOANNA MARSH
When Jennifer Trafton started thinking about her next children’s novel, she began picturing a young Don Quixote who saw the world a little differently from everyone else. And like Don Quixote, this character—an eight-year-old boy named Henry—would have a quest to fulfill: to share his vision and his artistic gifts for the benefit of the wider community.
BY HOLLY WREN SPAULDING
Since meeting her seven years ago, I've admired painter Amanda Acker's ability to tell a story through a single image, as well as her sensitive use of color, which has the effect of teaching me how to see the vibrancy in my own surroundings.
TEXT AND PHOTOS BY MANUELA THAMES AND BECKY SCHAUER
The specifics of the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline dominated news cycles last fall, but now we bring you reflections from behind the scenes at Standing Rock where our contributors learned much from their Native American hosts. Regardless of your position toward the pipeline, we hope you’ll listen and learn universal lessons along with Becky and Manuela.
BY JONATHON GEELS
In recent decades, as churches have fallen into disrepair, their previously significant impact on community development has waned. While they certainly still serve as both social and spiritual centers, they do not dominate the landscape as they once did. The grid of city streets has reduced their hierarchical impact, and often, the Central Business District supports many buildings of much greater scale. Even the megachurches, with their thousands of members and sprawling complexes and campuses, are often sited away from urban centers, isolated on large swaths of land in suburbia.
Photograph by JC Johnson & Story by Kami L. Rice
A real life scene has been turned miniature through the magic of photography. This miniaturized scene inspired a tiny fictional tale that invites you to discover the other stories hiding in this image. We invite you to explore the world with us, letting your imagination play along as you do.
By Marina Gross-Hoy
The Detroit Institute of Arts is a gem. It has one of the largest art collections in the United States, with objects spanning from ancient Mesopotamia to contemporary America.
The reason for my visit on a blustery March afternoon was to test Lumin, the museum’s brand new augmented reality mobile experience.
Interview by Linda Swan. Photos by Bradley Leach.
A conversation with Weléla Mar Kindred is a dance of kindness, openness, fierce intellect, and subtle movement. It was an honor for me to spend an hour getting to know such a rare soul. Weléla was born in Southern California but identifies strongly as a member of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation as well as of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Photos by Bradley Leach and Intro by Jonathan Randall Grant
Dancer, writer, and director Weléla Mar Kindred radiates peace and warmth. Her presence is like a hug. I met her in Paris a few years ago, and my life has been all the sweeter because of our meeting.
By Amber Kidner
Just before Christmas I had an opportunity to visit a small school in Delhi. The school that my children attend had begun to work with this school in various ways. My assignment was to photograph the children both at work and at play, as they inhabited their school space on that particular morning.