We had the good fortune of connecting with Imani McCray and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Imani, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk-taking is necessary for innovation and progress. Pioneering change takes accountability and empathy for the individuals and collectives put at risk. If your livelihood isn’t wagered in your actions, it’s not your risk to take. Within my life and career, I found myself in situations where my well-being was on the line. Whether it’s documenting an explosive historical moment or deciding to not back down from adversity, I try to make sure the risk I take won’t negatively impact others (besides possibly myself) and yield a positive impact for those in need.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a photojournalist and graphic designer, as well as the creator of “Be the Change” magazine.
“Be the Change” is a photojournalism magazine designed to inspire positive change in the world by highlighting amazing people and groups working to shape a better future through advocacy and action. Additionally, it exposes conflict that arises in multicultural societies where past trauma has gone un-remedied.
The process of documenting and navigating police brutality, riots, insurrections, and even poverty in the third world isn’t the hardest part. In the moments I take a picture of history it doesn’t feel exciting or scary. Instead, it feels as if I shouldn’t be in any other place at that moment but there. It’s in the reflection (while processing thousands of images) that there is so much pain that has to be documented if anything is going to change. I also understand that my eyes are blessed to see these powerful moments that help expose truths to the world, no matter how difficult it can be.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would definitely take my friend to Malibu to hang out at the beach Leo Camarillo. We would have lunch at Nobu, and dinner has to be wine tasting and pizza at Cielo winery. At some point, rollerblading along the beach and breakfast from G’s juice in Mar Vista Beach.
For sure hit up Delilah‘s in West Hollywood for drinks, and another night’s dinner at Nice Guy, West Hollywood.
There is literally so much to do, as long as it’s good company and the weather is nice, we can always find a way to have fun and explore.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without the nurturing and supportive influence of those I’ve been blessed to meet, I couldn’t create anything positive. The cumulation of my work up to this point is owed to more people than I can name. The person who has most recently been mentoring me, and growing my artistic career, is Kayla Clark. As my previous graphic design professor and current mentor, she pushed me to expand the development of my passion. Without her selfless dedication to teaching and advocacy for innovation, I would have never seen my current series “Be the Change” to completion.
Imani C. McCray