‘From Admiring Eyes,’ Photographer Captures Warmth Of Florida’s Black Communities

Feb 15, 2017


Photographer Johanne Rahaman gets out a lot.

“Liberty City. Pahokee. Fort Pierce. Jacksonville...” Rahaman began, as she rattled off a list of communities she’s photographed, “West Palm Beach. Pleasant City. Brownsville. Carroll City…”

The list goes on. Rahaman's mission: to get to know Florida’s working class black communities, then document them through her photography.

Photographer Johanne Rahaman, right, visits with Lauderhill resident Dorrisile Dervis on Feb. 7, 2017.
Credit Peter Haden / WLRN

“It’s a celebration of everyday life,” Rahaman said. “I feel really grateful that people allow me to experience what life is like in their home, on their street, in their church, in the barbershop.”

Her project is called Black Florida.

Rahaman aims to capture the warm side of neighborhoods that often get a one-dimensional treatment, associated only with poverty and violence.

“My focus is on what happens in spite of that,” said Rahaman, “the simpler things that are often overlooked -- things that keep the communities functioning and help sustain the people who live there.”

She has photographed Sally Mobley, 80, in her Collier City home several times.

“It’s so wonderful to see somebody that cares about what’s going on around you,” said Mobley. “Somebody who shows interest in how you live and what happened to you. That makes the person — like me — feel real good.”

Johanne Rahaman captures everyday scenes in Collier City on Dec. 17, 2016. “It’s a celebration of everyday life,” Rahaman said of her photography archive, Black Florida.
Credit Peter Haden / WLRN

Rahaman’s new exhibit, “Black Florida: Pompano Beach,” runs Feb. 15 – Mar. 31 at Bailey Contemporary Arts, 41 NE First St.,  Pompano Beach.

Rahaman’s full photographic archive can be found at blackflorida.org. Johanne Rahaman’s photography is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.