Artsbridge’s Artists Series Hosts Erik James Montgomery
In celebration of Black History Month, Artsbridge’s Distinguished Artists Series presents fine art photographer and educator Erik James Montgomery, who focuses his lens on the pressing cultural and social justice issues of our time. His online presentation, Thursday, February 18 at 7 p.m., will take viewers on his 30-year journey in photography and include images in his current series “Red, White, Blue, and You: Reconstruction.”
These thought-provoking, visually unique, and arresting photographs tackle race, racism, and reconciliation from 1619 to present. “Photography is a powerful form of communication because it transcends all the barriers of language. Through my art, I am able to speak to anyone in the world, about their world, in order to change the world,” said Montgomery.
Growing up in the city of East Orange, New Jersey, where many of his “peers fell into the traps of crime, drugs, self-hate, and ultimately, death,” Montgomery was determined not to become a statistic but a success, delving into various genres of art including illustration, dance, graffiti, and eventually photography. At first self-taught, he went on to study at the Academy of Art University and Columbia University.
Now he teaches others and works to lift up the community through the Erik James Montgomery Foundation, the nonprofit organization he founded in 2011. Teaching professional photography to at-risk youth, his students learn the fundamentals of the craft and discover a pathway to entrepreneurship. In addition, the foundation creates public works of art for under-served neighborhoods, transforming blight into beauty. Currently Montgomery is working on a series for “A New View Camden,” a public arts project sponsored by the Bloomberg Philanthropies.
As owner and instructor at EJM Photography located in southwest New Jersey, Montgomery creates personalized portraits, inspirational images, and provides photographic coverage for special events. His photography has been exhibited in galleries, universities, and at community art events for decades. Currently working on PSAs targeted at social issues, a photographic version of the Bible, and on several exhibitions, Montgomery hopes his photography and community service will leave a positive impact for generations to come.
To attend the free Zoom presentation or for more information, visit artsbridgeonline.com.