Interview by J Thomas Agnew

Up next, we introduce to you Dominick McDuffie. Dominick is a Pittsburgh born and raised self taught photographer who focuses on documenting Black spaces and people in the city uniquely enough that you can feel the energy he captures with his camera. With his time within the BOOM Universe residency, Dominick is looking for an opportunity to organize his work and strategize for the next steps that could lead to a budding film career. 

What drew your interest in participating in a residency program?

Well for starters from my experience in attending BOOM exhibitions and events, it was apparent that the space gave artists creative support and freedom across all mediums. So when I came across the residency program, I knew that I had to apply. What I was drawn to with the program specifically was the emphasis on artist development. Over the last couple years I really realized there’s much more that goes into an art practice other than the creating aspect. Being in space with ones that have experience and expertise in art space is a valuable part of this residency program. 

What areas of improvement have you been wanting to work on that you hope to start in this residency?

One of the areas of improvement is the organization of my work. Working in film it can become easy to have a disorganized archive of work, the film negatives have tendency to pile up. I look forward to having a space away from home to sit down and focus on my physical and digital archive. Also, I’m looking forward to having space to plot ideas out. Currently I have been thinking about how to further incorporate my personal story in my work more. So having a space to sit, think, and plot out ideas is something I am looking forward to. 

How does your work represent who you are as an artist?

As I’m growing and changing as an individual, I believe there’s fluidity in the answer to how my work represents who I am as an artist. With that being said I believe I have always been a curious person. As a kid, this trait was very prevalent. I dabbled into poetry, drawing, and writing short stories. For me, curiosity is essential to being an artist. I photograph a pretty broad range of individuals. My work ranges from young teens hanging out playing basketball to Catholic Monks in community together. I would like to think that speaks to my curiosity and openness as an individual and artist. 

What do you enjoy most about documenting in Pittsburgh?

I really appreciate the familiarness that I have with the city. Being born and raised here, I’ve traveled through these neighborhoods long before I was even thinking about photography. That level of familiarity translates to being very comfortable when I’m documenting. I also enjoy the love I receive when I’m documenting. I’m always engaging when photographing a community. Through conversation I have been invited into one’s homes, giving detailed history of the neighborhood, and even one time gifted film cameras. I love the openness that is displayed here, it definitely allows me to make real connections. 

What other career paths are you interested in utilizing your photography skill set?

Other than photography but in the same sphere, would be creating in the world of cinema. I have always been drawn by movies and directors such as Wong Kar-Wai, Barry Jenkins, Khalil Joseph, Garret Bradley, and Khalik Allah. These are a few directors that stimulate me visually. Their willingness to experiment with a cinematic shot inspires me to do the same when I’m documenting. So film is what I have my intention on in the coming years. 

For more information on Dominick McDuffie CLICK HERE