Photographers among us: Khalik Allah and the True Harlem

Each person is its own world of experiences. These worlds seem secretly protected, locked away in some unreachable realm. But they are all around us. Often, in plain view and yet, we shy away from peeking too much. Our curiosity may seem inappropriate.

The goal of street portraiture is to dive in head first. Reach into its inside and yank it out. Reveal it.

And that is just what Khalik Allah does. Close, intimate, honest, empathetic. This young photographer has been photographing the streets of Harlem for the last few years obtaining stunning images of what appears to be a rather rough life at the corner of 125th and Lexington Ave.

  © Khalik Allah

© Khalik Allah

His dark grungy photographs show a world few of us dare to enter. They show a crude reality from a very dignified perspective. The connection to his subjects is obvious. They want him there. They connect to him. And their portraits, connect to you. If you missed it, look deep into their eyes.

“I’ll tell a person that I stop in the street to think about something that they went through in their life that was difficult and project that through their eyes”

— Khalik Allah in an interview for Time's Lightbox

  © Khalik Allah

© Khalik Allah

He is currently traveling and screening his documentary film “Field Niggas and Antonyms of Beauty” which gives an even deeper insight into his subjects and work. I personally hope he continues to give me access to his world. He has managed to show me some of the true humans of New York that many shy away from.

The next screenings in the US will be at NYU, Quinnipiac University, Sarasota Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival and further on to France. 

For more, check out his Tumblr site or follow him on Facebook.