Talena Sanders
2:30 Portraits Greensboro Installation ViewInstallation view - 2:30 Portraits GreensboroCatalog from Out of Fashion - 2:30 Portraits Greensboro
2:30 Portraits Greensboro
Talena Sanders 2010 - 2011

Installation view of exhibition at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

2:30 Portraits was begun during an artist residency in Greensboro, NC. Every Friday and Saturday night for 6 months, I stood outside of an arts center in downtown Greensboro at 2:30AM (last call) and asked people on the streets to let me shoot their portrait. An exploration of hip hop and club culture and fashion in a mid-size southern town, while also examining the performance of posing for a portrait in the era of digital photography and social media.

Reflecting on this project in 2015, I now know that I would have approached this idea differently. In this attempt, I did not adequately deal with issues of race, and of my own sense of entitlement to access these experiences and this community. At the time, I did not understand the reality of white privilege, which is something I am still working to understand fully. A curiosity and desire to poke at and trouble my own relationship with the predominantly black hip hop club culture that passed by the predominantly white artist residency and museum where I was living was at the heart of this project. I was troubled that these two groups felt so distant from each other, that there was little to no cross over despite the physical proximity of the club and the museum. I attempted to get under the surface of that tension, but did not address these issues in any direct way, which I now believe is necessary in such a project. I present the project here on my website as an archive of a process of growth and development in my documentary practice.