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Black photographers document Tampa Bay area protests for new exhibit

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Posted at 6:06 AM, Jun 26, 2020

We're seeing hundreds of emotional images showing the fight for racial justice as protests sweep the country. But, many have complained that point of view isn't being captured by Black photographers.

Normally on the weekends, you’d catch photographer Ashley Canay walking down the aisle capturing moments of happy couples. Unfortunately, the pandemic has postponed or canceled weddings.

As the national movement for racial justice continues to pick up steam, you’ll probably see Canay shouting down the street.

"I’ve had to pivot and use my skills in a different way," Canay said.

Canay, born and raised in Tampa Bay, is a proud product of Howard W. Blake High School. But something didn't sit well when she started going to demonstrations.

"I noticed there weren’t any Black photographers out there capturing the protests. And that kind of bothered me a little bit," she said.

So, she decided to make it her mission to make sure to capture history and this racial reckoning. But that task became harder once protests started popping up across the Tampa Bay area.

"One in St. Pete, one in Clearwater, another going on in Downtown Tampa. I can’t get to all of them," Canay said.

She rounded up several colleagues, now named the Tampa Black Activist Photographers. They spread out to capture all they could, but especially the good.

"Imagery of us is very important. Beautiful images of us. It shows our value, or worth," she said. "It’s a different perspective that has not been shown as much."

The Tampa Black Activist Photographers are putting together their best work for an exhibit in Tampa on Sunday, June 28 . For more information on the event and to buy tickets, click here.