I was born in Syracuse and grew up in Geneseo, NY, where my sociology professor mother brought public intellectuals to campus. One event stuck—joining Carrie Mae Weems and bell hooks for pizza in their B&B for a late-night snack. As my father documented Syracuse’s Armory Square art and club scene, he made sure I grew up with a camera in hand, landing me at the Newhouse School and Eddie Adams Workshop. With my mother’s activism and the inspiration of my father’s eye, I developed into the person that I am today, an ally listening and watching for compelling narratives.


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Ben Cleeton Photography

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