May 6 - July 23, 2022
From San Antonio Center of Photography:
“In America, Black gun owners are often portrayed negatively. Christian K. Lee set out to change that. Growing up in Chicago, Lee routinely saw negative portrayals of Black Americans with guns. Black men across America who owned handguns were associated with gangs and criminals. This phenomenon made it difficult for him to grasp wanting to own a firearm. But at home, Lee saw a positive, responsible side of firearms ownership. His father was an Army veteran and a police officer.
Armed Doesn’t Mean Dangerous aims to promote a more balanced archive of Black Americans with firearms by showing responsible gun owners — those who use these weapons for sport, hobby, and protection. Many of the subjects Lee photographs are middle-class professionals, which he believes are designations that have allowed them to escape much of the stigma attached to Black gun ownership in America. Lee hopes to dismantle outdated stereotypes that deem being Black and armed as dangerous, threatening, and contrary to what it means to be a law-abiding citizen in the United States. He often wonders if people’s perceptions would change if his subjects lived in different ZIP codes or were photographed in attire stereotypically connected with violence.
“Most Black folks don’t want to be gun owners because much of the trauma in their communities is often connected to guns. Whether it be the gun violence at the hands of a citizen or police-involved shooting, guns always seem to be the centerpiece,” said Lee. “Look at the case of Breonna Taylor. She was found dead in her home after a firearm was used legally to protect her and her family. This weird dynamic has cast a grave shadow on gun ownership for the Black community.”
Black gun ownership has increased to keep up with America’s changing landscape. The Black community has quickly become the fastest-growing gun-owning demographic in the United States. This change is driven by the dueling pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice. Not to mention a history of fighting for rights and freedoms against all odds.
About the Artist
Christian K. Lee is an artist born in Chicago and currently located in Killeen, Texas. This Fall, he will return to Chicago to pursue an MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His experience as a photojournalist drives his desire to utilize art as an investigative tool. Christian’s goal is to create imagery that reflects the world he currently lives in. Lee’s work has been exhibited internationally and published in Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, and Forbes Magazine. Selected Honors include the Silver List, Silver Eye Center for Photography, 2022; Pictures of the Year International, Portrait Series, Award of Excellence, 2022; Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture, Finalist, 2021; Photolucidia, Critical Mass Top 50, 2021; Sony World Photography Awards, Portrait, Shortlist, 2021. Learn more at christianklee.com.
About The San Antonio Center of Photography
The Photo Center is focused on building intentional community by connecting, educating, encouraging, and inspiring others through photography education, events, exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, and networking. Learn more at thephotocenter.org.
The San Antonio Center of Photography is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, from 1 to 5 pm. Free and open to the public.”
Special event: May 14, 2022 | 7–9 pm
Photo Night event presented by Christian K. Lee
724 South Alamo Street, Suite 3
San Antonio, 78205 TexasGet directions