I am Tarrice Love. I was born and raised in Memphis, Tn. My mom was a teen mother raising two boys alone, so I was accustom to living in "struggle-type" situations. I have spent my life using my creativity taking nothing and turning it into something. I wanted to be an artist in the fashion industry so I taught myself how to sew by taking clothes apart and putting them back together again. My granny was in medical school and she would get me and my little brother to draw her anatomy assignments... that help me to understand the human body and its relationship with clothing. I read every book I could find in the public library about fashion and art.
After my bother died (he shot himself while playing with a gun at a friend's house), I decided to go to college and study fashion design. That is when I discovered my love for photography. I was working at the local newspaper in the mailroom to help pay for school. I barely made enough to pay foy books and supplies. None of the local magazine would hire me as a photographer and none of the local model agencies wouldn't let a black man from South Memphis photograph their pristine white girls. I worked with my friends and classmates from college. After much resistance, I came to terms with the limited possibilities of living a fashion dream in Memphis was unlikely. I didn't want to give up because momma didn't raise no quitters. I decided to aim high. I told myself if I was gonna be broke and struggling, I might as well do so in a place I had a real chance to live my dream.
On October 27th, 2006 I packed my camera, computer, and my savings of $650 and moved to New York City to pursue my dream of being a noted fashion photographer. I started out couch crashing at photographer/model William Springfield's apartment in the Bronx. I really didn't know him but we became "friends" thru Black Planet, a social media website for black folks to connect with each other. I was taking a major leap of faith and basically moving in with a stranger. I transferred my job at FedEx working the elevator for International Customs to be a part-time foot courier in Manhattan. I didnt know what being a foot courier meant but I thought this was the best situation for me. A morning job with health care and benefits that allowed me a flexible schedule and freedom to pursue photography on my terms.
I start every morning waking up at 4am to get as much done before catching the 6:30am subway train to Manhattan to do my "Clark Kent" (FedEx foot courier job). I call it my "Clark Kent" because of the way ppl ignore me when i'm in that uniform and the amount of work we haveta do within the time frame we have to do it. Its a grueling 100+ block radius with only a few hours to deliver. After work, I take my burning calves and swollen feet back home. I eat something right quick before models start arriving for any scheduled shooting. After the photoshoots are done i'm so tired, I usually skip dinner, try to get some retouching done and go to bed and at 4am the cycle starts all over again
I never anticipated the high cost of living and the constant inundation all around me of the things and experiences I cannot afford and how it slowly breaks you down inside. I couch crashed with Will for almost a year before I overstayed my welcome and had to move. I then moved to Williamsburg Brooklyn with a college friend for a few months until i found this place in Bedstuy that I share with 3 other guys. With the gentrification of our neighborhood, our "affordable" $2600 per month rent keeps going up and my hours at work keep going down. Along with rent, we even split all the gas, electric, and other utilities. Luckily when photoshoot gigs are slow and inconsistent my granny steps in and pays my cell phone bill for me.
Their are millions of people in New York but this is the loneliest place i've ever lived. Its extremely difficult to develop genuine relationships... people are on their hustle, with their hands out, ready to use you for whatever they can get and move on. Sometimes I feel like I am still at the bottom of the hill i've helped so many people climb. Years of this has chipped away my confidence and and self-worth and left me feeling empty, drained and frustrated. At the end of the day, I haveta take off my delivery man uniform and perpetuate a false front of a glamorous life because that's what fashion photography is suppose to do - provide a visual doorway into a life of beauty and glamour.
In comparison to many, I am blessed. People believe I have this amazing life surrounded by amazing people. I get to work with top models, actors, dancers, performers, and athletes . I have a cool relationship with some of the biggest agencies in the world. I am creating images that impact people's lives and inspire other artist. I am in the city of dreams living mine. Now that I've come to point where the excitement of it has basically disappeared, I am fortunate enough to have a job and getting enough paid gigs to pay my bills at the end of the month.
I grew up actually believing that having talent, being willing to sacrifice and if i put in a lot of hard work, I could be anything I wanted to be. Despite being a young black male living in one of the poorest areas in Memphis, I still believed in the idea of the American Dream. I believed in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Sometimes I find it more difficult to believe in something that I can't see.
I just want people who are inspired by my work to understand how real my struggle is and despite everything I still wake up every single morning and pray to God for understanding and strength to be motivated to keep trying and believing that things will be for the better. I am living in the most difficult times of my life but I still believe that I am suppose to be here.... producing work that is inspiring and life changing for myself and the people around me. #lovewashere