Reclaiming the Beauty in New Orleans with @twomacks
For more of Whitney’s photos from New Orleans, follow @twomacks on Instagram.
“New Orleans exists with no expectation from its residents or visitors. It moves the way it wants to,” says Whitney Mitchell (@twomacks), who has lived in the southern city for nearly eight years.
Gradually, Whitney found New Orleans bringing out her creative side. “There is a magic in this city I couldn’t even begin to justify with words,” she says. “There’s a feeling of creation with no fear of failing. The city lent itself to me to just try, to just live and take life easy.”
Whitney’s photographs often take shape as bright, strong portraits of the women in her life set against the vibrant colors of the city’s buildings. “There is so much in life that tells people to feel and look a certain way, or that beauty is measured by a ‘pretty scale,’” she explains. “Each of the women trust me to help them feel beautiful when they don’t outside of a meticulously thought-out selfie. I want to show sexiness in line with power and blackness in line with holistic beauty.”
She also strives to reclaim beauty in other parts of New Orleans where it may have been ignored. “Time in New Orleans is measured by before or after the storm,” she says. “The PTSD of Katrina’s fury is here and will always be. Time stopped in certain places of the city. Some people notice it and some people choose not to.”
In one of Whitney’s photos, she captures the struggle to maintain humanity in the face of this standstill. “This house is on ‘the other side of Claiborne,’ just as you cross into the Ninth Ward,” she says. “It’s filled with blighted houses, potholes that seem like caves and small messages to the world that the folk still living there are still living, and they are still human.”