Photographer and video artist Endia Beal's photo series “Am I What You’re Looking For?" features young Black women who are transitioning into the corporate world. The photographs were taken in the homes where the women grew up. Each was asked to wear what they would wear to a business interview. They then posed in front of a office backdrop. The women were asked to perform a mock interview and that's when Beal captured their photographs. Each photo is accompanied by a personal statement.
Beal told the NYTimes:
I am interested in the stories of the invisible, the stories we haven’t heard yet. The new series, “Am I What You’re Looking For?,” explores those new stories, those individuals that don’t necessarily get a chance to vocalize all of their feelings, and all of their emotions, and what they’re going through. The work that I create does not necessarily answer questions; the work that I create poses questions, “What if?” What if my subjects Sabrina and Katrina (Slide 2) came into your office space and this is how they looked? What if Jayia wore her dress that is white and you saw the tattoo on her hand? How would you deal with that? Knowing that you may be making a decision based on how she looks and not what’s on her résumé.
Most of my work does just that, it poses those questions. It forces the viewer to think: to think about being young, to think about being ambitious, to think about the idea of having to be exactly who you want to be in this kind of muted space, in this long hallway that you have to walk.
“Corporate America is intimidating, but my hope to succeed allows it to also be promising. I feel like I will have to fight twice as hard to exceed my competition for respect and wage.” — Sabrina, 23, Arkansas.
“I join the band of minority women in corporate America as a faceless heroine. I believe corporate has lost its servitude for humanity and I feel obligated to supply it. I noticed that big-name corporations are making an effort to equal the playing field by hiring minority and female leaders … but it’s an indication that there are highly skilled players on the bench ready to be called into play.” — Katrina, seated, 23, Arkansas.
“I don’t see myself in the corporate space. I see myself in a more open environment where you are free to express your creativity and ideas with others.” — Aja, 19, North Carolina.
“Corporate America is a monochromatic, male-dominated society that could benefit from a woman’s mindful, rational and masterful touch.” — Jazmyne, 21, North Carolina.
“It is a benefit for corporate America to have diverse perspectives that align with the company’s strategy in order to gain a broader market share and truly embrace diversity and inclusion.” — Jessica, 28. North Carolina.
Photos: Endia Beal