Fund The People's Documentarian

You may find this hard to believe. I don’t own my own camera. I rent - several times a month and renting no longer serves the work that I do. It’s slowing me down and stressing me out, making me less likely to explore or create, which stunts my personal growth as an artist and my ability to contribute to the revolutionary transformation that is in our midst.

I've heard from others that I do alot. I’d like to do more. 

In short, I need my own gear to shoot campaigns and create other visibility work that inspires us to keep forging the world we want to create for ourselves and our children.

I spend 10 to 14 hours every month ordering, picking up and returning equipment. By the end of the year, that's almost 3 entire work weeks. As an independent media maker, I can offer more to each of you if I use that time to write, create, organize and teach.

Every year for the last 3 years, I’ve spent $15,000 per year renting equipment. At roughly $1000 per 1-week rental, I usually have enough money on hand for a rental, but never have enough on hand to buy gear out-right. Every couple of months, this pattern leaves me in a financial hole while I await reimbursement from clients, which can take as long as 60 days. At any given time, I’m essentially floating several thousand dollars in credit to as many as 4 projects. Sometimes I forego other gigs if I’m already tapped out, which costs me another $15,000 every year. The cycle is emotionally/creatively draining.

When I’m documenting protests, renting sometimes creates unnecessary hardships like equipment failures due to poorly serviced gear. Recently, while filming the Black August Bailout, the camera body I rented wouldn’t turn on. While I was supposed to be filming people joyously reuniting with their families, I found myself begrudgingly returning to the rental place, a 70-minute roundtrip drive, to swap out gear. The audio on some of my Ferguson footage is unusable due to poorly maintained rental equipment.

Documenting protests is already strenuous, unpredictable, and unsafe. At the very least, I need my gear to be in good order.

In addition to documenting Standing Rock, #Charlit Uprising, and Confederate statue protests, this past year, I’ve shot for NBC Digital, Samsung, People magazine, Wall Street Journal, The National Black Theater Festival, lots of folks. I also contributed to Whose Streets? , directed by Sabaah Folayan and co-directed by Damon Davis. ***If you haven’t seen it yet, please do.***

Over the next year, I’m transitioning towards producing more feature docs and writing/directing for TV. Please be on the look-out for upcoming announcements on Facebook/Twitter.

In order to make these moves, I have to reclaim my time. The easiest way to get where I’m going is to buy my own equipment.

Your donation will help me purchase the following:
• 1 Canon 5D Mark iv camera body and lens
• Replacement gear that has been damaged during protests/extreme weather (mics, batteries, battery back-ups, tripods )
• Livestreaming gear.

PBS' MOVEMENTS: Behind the Lens of Black Civil Rights Movements 1940-2015
Featured Photographer

KKK Throws Celebratory Parade for Trump - AJ+ (1 min, 16 secs)
Producer/Video Journalist

Co-Producer/Camera Op


Katina Parker
Durham, NC

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