Freelance photographer Jourdan Christopher Fanning, known professionally by his first and middle names, is on a mission to document the unacknowledged. The 25-year-old Dorchester resident fills his Instagram (@jo.christopher) with shots of strangers, from a businessman crossing the street to a young girl at a Black Lives Matter rally. This led to “Strangers in Boston,” an ongoing photo series with the goal of highlighting overlooked similarities between us all.
Q. Many of your most recent photographs are a part of the “Strangers in Boston” series. What was the inspiration behind it?
A. I first came across the phenomenon on train rides to and from work. The train would be in complete silence except for someone interacting with their cellphone. I like the way people look standing so close together and having similarities, but never discovering the connections they might have with people around them. When the weather started to warm up, it crawled out of the subway train and onto the streets. It became me looking at this city.
Q. What do you look for when shooting candid street photography?
A. I capture moments that everyone can relate to, whether it’s someone tying their shoes or walking with a balloon in hand on their birthday. There’s a level of continuity that exists between every human life, and people seem to be more disconnected than connected. I want to be the one that documents the tethers between people.
Q. With a few exceptions, most of your work is done in black and white. Why?
A. There’s a certain timelessness to black and white. Taking away the color gives you more of an ability to put yourself in the moment. Colors aren’t distractions, but for what I convey through my photography, they’re not necessary. There are certain instances when I do use color, and it invokes a certain emotion when I use it. I use it purposefully.
Q. You’ve photographed multiple Black Lives Matter rallies in the past few months. What was it like to document those experiences?
A. It felt like being a part of history. There’s nothing that replaces standing in the middle of a crowd of people pushing toward the same goal for the same reason, unified tragically but for the same cause. There was nothing but love and a hunger for progress.
Q. How does your tagline, “Nowadays most trees fall in silence,” influence your photography?
A lot of what goes on in life goes unacknowledged. That’s where I draw my photography from: the moments in between. The way we think aboutlife in general is limited when you only look at momentous occasions rather than the entirety of it.