The exhibition features 20 large scale photographs, many taken in Roye’s neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and from the larger project “When Living is a Protest.” Roye’s images seek to give visibility to the often invisible members of his community, creating images that are in turn harrowing, disturbing, hopeful and joyful. His portraits of the diverse population of Bed-Stuy are infused with dignity and integrity. Roye spends significant time with each person he approaches, listening to their stories. For Roye, telling the stories of his “collaborators” is equally as important as the photographs themselves. Each photograph is accompanied by a text written by Roye, often quoting the people in his pictures. He is a unique voice in street photography, one full of anger, resistance and compassion.
Roye spends his days walking the streets and photographing the people he encounters. He is no stranger to walking, in 2000 Roye walked 121 miles in Jamaica from Montego Bay to Kingston photographing squatters alongside an abandoned train line. He pays close attention to the way people move through the city, acutely aware of those that we usually ignore. He is closer to his subjects than is typical in street photography both emotionally and physically. This intimacy is augmented by his complex compositions of colors, light, lines, signage and shadows.
Roye, who has amassed over 250,000 followers, is a leading figure on Instagram as a photographer showcasing an interest in his community. He began with a series of haunting posts of the devastation that followed Hurricane Sandy. For Roye, social media is a powerful tool to get his message to the masses “The media has a way of deleting the stories of people who society does not want to deal with. This is my humble way of putting these stories back in people’s faces — forming a real and active dialogue about these issues.” Roye adds to each image an incisive retelling of the stories shared with him. These captions will be reproduced in full for the exhibition.