TIME Magazine has named Ruddy Roye its 2016 Instagrammer of the year.
Roye posts from his account, @ruddyroye. His subjects are almost always black, and resonate Roye’s truth.
"Facing the Darkness"
The Jamaican-born father of two began photographing his neighbors in Brooklyn in 2002.
"Today I Am"
They are faces of joy and contemplation, fathers with sons, children at play, people living. The subjects are almost always black, and resonate Roye’s truth.
“The picture is in my head, I just have to get it out,” Roye said.
Although he has been snapping photos for years, Roye said 2016 was different. Moved by the deaths of young black men on the streets, he considers himself a journalist on a mission.
“The message is more important, the emotion that is in the image is most important,” Roye said.
"Policing People's Health"
After zig-zagging across the country, Roye has acquired 265,000 Instagram followers.
“I wanted to broadcast them so that other people would recognize that strip of my color and I’m your uncle, I’m your brother, I am your neighbor,” Roye said.
“An alcoholic father, a person who feels disenfranchised, a person who feels like on some level this country doesn’t acknowledge the spirit of blackness the spirit of black culture, the spirit of black communities,” Roye said of some of his subjects
The irony, Roye said, was that only by looking beyond his lens did he see that himself.
“I didn’t once go to coal country and tell the story of people who are also losing their jobs, people who are also disenfranchised, people who are also hungry, people who don’t look like me, but are also going through the same struggles that I’m going through,” he said.
"The Black Child"
Roye said he intends to capture those struggles that he overlooked in the new year.
Roye calls 2016 the year of protest.
He hopes 2017 will be the year of healing.