DOMINIQUE SHEPHERD
 

For the Love of God

The following is a project, created for SWAN Day Chicago: Photography Exhibition in 2015, highlighting womanhood, spirituality, and self-reflection. Divineness is a theme that Dominique has chosen to use as  a commonality within her work. Her religious upbringing merged with her modern political and social views on feminism and racial awareness guided her in creating the literature that accompanies her photographs.

 
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Water 1

I’d venture for miles to listen to her sing; this time she calls out to me-- “Come child, it’s time to calm yourself.” I close my tired eyes; it elevates my other senses so I can see her more vividly. I lay my body across the warm beach, toes and fingers buried in white-pebble sand, leveling my energy as I feel her faintly. She carries herself in the wind to hover across my skin like my mother’s kisses: loving and soft. With the smell of salt lingering, I take a deep breath. Her voice begins to crescendo, singing in depth-- “Come child, it’s time to cleanse yourself.” I can feel her reach out to me; she lures me into dense waters that transition steadily.

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Water 2

I float with the taste of minerals hugging my lips and her song now entering my ears so fluidly. Her power is heavy upon my body holding me like God has come to wash my sins. Water flushes over me, I take a deep breath. She cries out to me with barely anything left-- “Now child, it’s time to free yourself!” I can’t inhale; I’m holding every piece of life that I have close to my chest. I am afraid, it feels like the ocean is stealing every tear that I’ve kept and I’m weightless. Her current sweeps me through every memory and I can clearly see as if all that life offers is at my finger tips. Before I can grab them, she pushes me out onto the shore like a mother giving the world her first child. And suddenly, the world seems new to me. I take a deep breath.

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Moon

In my nightly daze, I look towards the moon; I’m inspired by how she reflects the energy of powerful entities with stardust fields. Hanging above the earth; leading lost men towards something virtuous. So beautiful; giving one face to the world, she let’s us see only what she wants to be. The blackness of the night drapes around her curves, dressing her in many ways. Her essence is hidden from the favors of most but, across the night sky, she proudly parades. And when she catches their unfaithful bids, she cleanses herself by reaching for the waters, quenching her dusty conduits. Dancing through space with a purpose.

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Sun

Caught in my daydreams, I look towards the Sun; I want to gaze at the being that can illuminate even the darkest of souls. Guiding her children to the fiery desires that shades us from our timidness. So powerful; overwhelmed by her existence, there is a glaring impulse to praise her Godly form. Our light, the mother of mankind, the mother of life, creates a system that revolves around her existence. Every transcending idea was created by her, nurtured by the time that she gives us. Although we long to catch her caresses, her body is an untouchable force. Radiating on her throne with a purpose.

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Earth 1

I imagine her voice to be delicate; each breath cold, yet comforting. Perhaps she is all I want to be-- Solid; Wild; Beautiful. Although hard matters leave craters upon her flesh, and her children come and go leaving messes for her to keep-- She stays strong and magnificently pure. On the outer layer she has hardened herself to survive the harshness of reality. But inside she stays warm and soft, constantly shifting to find inner comforts. It is said that everything good and treacherous pumps from her beating heart. It is said that everything ethereal and strong is rooted to her womb.

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Earth 2

Can you feel her holding on to your spirit? Trying to reach the wonders of her mystery that she placed in your adolescent mind, just so that you can shun them into crevices as you grow old and weak. But I keep dreaming of the rain falling under my eyes for the love of her, hoping Mother Earth can feel my amazement, I bow and run my fingers through her blades of grass.Wanting to indulge every sense of my being with this Godly planet. Longing to become anew and blossom as an enlightened being.To be cradled in her arms is nothing short of mercy, if only she would keep me there.

Special Thanks

Megan Okuesa - Moon & Sun Make Up | Yolanda Trejo - Earth 1, Earth 2, Water 1, & Water 2 Hair | Models in order of appearance: Shani,  Jasmine, and Kailah.


Maanami

Maanami (2015) is a short series Art Directed by Imani Amos & Photographed by Dominique Shepherd.

 
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Beautiful People

Impromptu portraits of friends Summer 2017-

 

Kindred Spirit Portrait Series

The following are portraits of nine women who gave testimonies about the significant events that lead to them overcoming large obstacles and feeling empowered.

 
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Alexandria

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Alia Jhane

 

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Cescily

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Elsie

 

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Rameka

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Kamera

 

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Shawn

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Kelley

 

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Tee