Diallo Mwathi Jeffery’s exhibit “Views of Oakland” – on display at Oakland City Hall until Feb. 28 – has an uncanny ability to capture those intangible “fleeting moments” that show the true beauty of Oakland.
Through these dynamic photographs, the artist seeks to change the perception of the city, which is often stereotyped as an area riddled with crime, unemployment, and poverty.
“I wanted to offer audiences views of Oakland that inspire me and remind me of what I love about the Bay Area, its beauty and diversity,” said Jeffery. “I wanted to show Oakland in a light that we don’t typically see it in.”
“We’re usually in such a rush in our lives, that we overlook the splendor of fleeting moments…as we stop to absorb beauty surrounding us, we discover a life filled with more of it,” he said.
Jeffery’s photographsform a mosaic of the many different elements of the city –towering cranes at the Port of Oakland and landmarks that personify the city, such as the Tribune Tower and Jack London Square.
One of his most popular photos gives a panoramic view of the city from the Mormon Temple to the Bay Bridge under the horizon of a clear blue sky.
Jeffery’s love for photography was ignited as a young child, when he first used his father’s camera. He was inspired by the masters Ansel Adams, Gordon Parks and Spike Lee, who he says expanded his sense “of how emotion is evoked through pictures.”
His parents, both career educators, encouraged his artistic expression and “using cameras, prisms, computers, and do-it-yourself electronic kits,” Jeffery said. “I indulged visual and auditory sensory acuities through experimentation with light and sound.”
With a degree from Morehouse College and hands-on studies of motion pictures and television at the Academy of Art University, Jeffery credits his professional development to his mentors and internships. He interned with KTVU newsroom videographer, the late Willie Kee.
Learning directly from those who had a passion for the craft made all the difference, he said.
“It expanded my sense of how emotion is evoked through pictures, whether still or in motion. My thoughtful mentors gave selflessly to help me cultivate confidence in my own voice as a communicator.”
Committed to sharing what he has learned, the photographer now offers the same opportunity to college students interested in interning with his production company.
He looks forward to his next photo exhibit, “Oakland and Beyond, Sense of Place,” at the Photo Fine Art Photography gallery, 473 25th St. in Oakland, on April 17.
For more information, visit www.diallo.com.