Family Inspires This Photographer To Capture His Miami Community

Feb 7, 2019

Photographer Terence Price II grew up at his grandparents' house in Miami Gardens. He was given his first film camera as a teen, and has been capturing the lives of people in his neighborhood ever since.

Price's photographs are black and white portraits and are meant to be capsules of time. He says his grandfather was an essential influence to his photography style: from how he decides to capture a photo to who he shoots.

An artist in residence at ArtCenter/South Florida, Price has his first solo exhibit is on display now. "Dancing in the Absence of Pain" showcases intimate portraits of home, family and community as a way to document Miami's history. He believes recording in images the fast-changing city is important so that people don't forget its history and let it "disappear." 

WLRN’s Alejandra Martinez spoke with Price about how he’s using film to capture photos that are representative of his community. You can listen to the conversation below or read highlights. He's also taking over WLRN's Instagram account for the day. You can follow his posts here

PRICE: I've been capturing a lot of my family. I'm unconsciously taking these shots and it's a piece of my history that I could put out there for other people to see.

WLRN: What does that mean, a piece of your history?

When I'm capturing things and photography it's something that's never going to happen again no matter how many of my own steps I retrace. That situation, that writing... I'm documenting my history.

You talk about your family and the influence they had on you and how you are taking photos of them now. Is that a part of your history?

It is a part of my history. My grandfather took a lot of photos of all of our family gatherings and has recorded a lot of video footage.

Have the photos he's taken inspired what you want to capture?

Yes, his photos ... weren't photos seen as art; he was just buying a camera. And I remember being a kid seeing them all on the wall and then going through all these photos and then all of that kind of ... influenced me like without me even knowing.

Terence, you have this photograph of an older woman holding a framed U.S. flag. Who is that?

That's my grandmother. She was holding my grandfather's flag because he was a vet. My grandfather was a strong person. So it was always hard for me to approach him, to ask for things like a photo and it wasn't until February 2018 I asked him, 'Is it okay if I set up outside to take your photo?' And he said 'yeah' and then in the next month he passed away. It wasn't until October my grandmother finally got the flag framed and I just saw it and I told her to go outside. 'Can I take a picture of you in that same spot where I took a picture of him?' and we went outside and she wore the same dress that she wore to the funeral. And I took the picture of her holding the flag. And then at that point she was able to like hold him. So the flag is representing him and his legacy.

Afternoon with Bubba, 2018. Bubba (Franklin) is Terence's grandfather.
Credit Terence Price II / Courtesy

How was the experience of taking that photo of your grandmother holding your grandfather's framed flag?

At the time I wasn't putting that much thought into it. It popped in my head and I knew that I had to get a picture of her holding [the flag] not only for me but for my family.

You've said you want to inspire people through your photography. What does that mean to you?

I'm archiving things. I want to inspire a lot of people to take pictures of your family or take pictures of your neighborhood.

Who are you taking these photos for?

Whoever comes next. Like... Miami is still a fresh city and a lot of places are disappearing and I've definitely seen my neighborhood change a lot. Without these pictures it's easy for people to forget or even to not believe me, but in my pictures you see a community that's there. Even if in the next five years that neighborhood is gone or the house that I grew up in is gone, at least those pictures still exist. But if people are not documenting things then it's easy to disappear and for somebody else to claim.

If you go:

On Saturday, Feb. 9, Price's photographs will be displayed during a musical performance from famous black opera singers, presented by IlluminArts and ArtCenter/South Florida.

Tickets can be purchased here.