All Photo Sourced: @_kwasi_b
Growing up in the heart of Los Angeles and capturing Koreatown, Hollywood, and Mid-City areas through his lens, Kwasi-Boyd Bouldin’s love for the urban landscape grew as he found creative inspiration in every street in Los Angeles. Born in 1977 and named as one of Time Magazine’s 12 African American Photographers to Follow in 2017, Bouldin grew up around the changes that L.A. went through as a city, developing a penchant for exploring the intangible relationship between a space and its people.
Different than the rest, Bouldin uses photo essays to convey stories of his observations, highlighting how a space and its inhabitants merge into an entity. In 2018, Bouldin was accepted into the 2018 New York Times Portfolio Review and had his photography featured in the Slate France, Curbed LA and in the New York Times. Capturing the “desolate beauty of the urban landscape,” the L.A. photographer uses simple photographs packed with meaning, drawing viewers to stay a while, linger and ponder over what urban life is really like.
Bouldin’s love for the city’s never-ending transformations and admiration of the power of space to catalyze lives of citizens is evident through his photographs, especially highlighting the plight of the marginalized and poor in the era of fast-paced urbanization. His photographs are a playground of form, color, lines and tons of volume; each frame has its own tale to tell. His series, the Displacement Engine, is a visual essay on gentrification and unfolds a narrative on how vulnerable populations are pushed towards the societal margins in an organized campaign.
Kwasi-Boyd Bouldin’s work is thought-provoking art, making viewers critically analyze and re-evaluate what urban life and environment really are, and how they are shaping lives on a daily basis. Showing the true picture of city life, especially of L.A., Bouldin expresses how he aims to change the way the media glamorizes and normalizes various stereotypes of certain cities and the life there. Photographing the streets, capturing interlocking cultures and the changing landscapes all in one frame, the deceptively simple photographs have more depth to them than the viewer can expect.
Using photography, Bouldin hopes to spark conversation about current surroundings, lives and the way people are affected by the urban life challenges – especially hinting towards neighborhoods that expel their people to accommodate newer advents.
Still living in Los Angeles, Kwasi-Boyd Bouldin is an avid fan of anime and science fiction. He draws inspiration from the photography of Jamel Shabazz, William Eggleston, Ruby Frazier, and Gordon Parks, to name a few, while at the same time loving Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Jay Z, Little Dragon, and Flying Lotus. He also enjoys having spontaneous random conversations with those he meets on the streets.
Kwasi-Boyd Bouldin is slowly changing the way urban life and gentrification are viewed and adding life to the inanimate with his empathic photography.