This is a weekly series where we feature our incredibly talented Adolescent members and their work! Sign up here to join the Adolescent Membership and be part of the @ family!
This week’s Member Crush is a special one. We’re thrilled to introduce you to Diana Sinclair, a photographer, creative, and activist based in the NJ/NYC area. At the early age of thirteen, she began her art career by showcasing at shows in Brooklyn and Hoboken. Currently, she’s working as co-EIC of More Color Media, an online platform created for marginalized voices to gain a spotlight in mainstream media. She’s also the Art Director of Redefy, a teen organization focused on educating teens around the world about current events. Diana creates graphics to be used from Nigeria to Japan. She’s also the social media manager for Towards Utopia, a non-profit fundraising initiative currently working to sell prints to raise money for Black trans women and sex workers. For their feature, we asked Diana about how 2020 has affected them, what it’s like shooting in New York, and how they plan different vibes for different projects.
Adolescent Content: Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? How old are you? How are you spending your time these days?
Diana Sinclair: My name is Diana, I'm a Black queer creative, and I use she/they pronouns. At the moment, I'm trying to keep my sanity intact, and the (maybe not so healthy) way I do that is by keeping myself very, very busy. I'm working with photographer and professor Zak Krevitt, chiefly on his non-profit creation Towards Utopia. You might've seen the organization's name in the recent press; so far we've raised over $100,000 for charities supporting Black trans women and sex workers through selling prints donated by numerous incredible artists. On my own, I'm working on my own fundraiser to sell shirts of my design in support of BLM charities, made in collaboration with NYC-based fashion designer Cassandra Hobbins, while also putting together shoot concepts with different creatives that reach out to create. I'm also a swim coach and trying to finish up my high school diploma!
Adolescent: How has 2020 changed your work and style?
Diana: The events of this year haven't changed much about my work. This year I began experimenting more with photography, and thankfully I've had the time to pursue that to any capacity I've wanted. I think due to having fewer interactions in person, I've been able to build more of a community online, and that has helped me branch out and do more in a weird sense. I've met models, other creatives who have encouraged me, and people who have supported what I've made more than ever before, all through social media.
Adolescent: Can you tell me about your shooting process, from coming up with a concept to editing the photos?
Diana: My shooting process is very personal—not meaning it's necessarily deep, but it's not a process that would matter very much to anyone else besides myself. Plus, it's a process that's always fluctuating. I'm an artist first and foremost, so creating is dependent on so many factors, and the process can begin at any stage. To somewhat answer the question, for others who may be involved in the shoot, beforehand I work to create a "vibe board/folder" so that everyone on the team understands what mood we're working to achieve. What happens before or after that is up to how the idea came to be and whatever steps happen to occur along the way. I'm usually very happy with the end result, and it's way more enjoyable when the process is dynamic. Of course, when shooting for clients, there's a fixed process for clarity on what's expected for all sides.
Adolescent: How does being in NYC and New Jersey affect your work?
Diana: Most of my creating has been done in NYC, and I can't say that New Jersey has made much of an impact on me. At least when creating in NYC, it's always encouraging seeing all the diverse personalities and things that just happen on the street. Sometimes I get anxiety about shooting in public, but NYC has really allowed me to thrive and be the creative I want to be. If you're a Manhattan native you may catch me laid out flat on the sidewalk trying to get a worm's-eye shot, and doing what I need to in order to get the good photo, haha.
Adolescent: What’s it been like being an Adolescent Member?
Diana: Especially at the beginning of quarantine back in April, Adolescent provided many opportunities for enclosed young creatives who really needed a reason to create. I was able to meet a lot of people across the country and beyond who encouraged my work and I've been able to support them as well. Having that sort of community at a tough time was definitely a welcome and positive distraction from what felt like a world-ending event.