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Clifford Prince King explores experiences in self-portraits

Clifford Prince King explores experiences in self portraits
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This story is part of Image issue 5, “Reverence,” an exploration of how L.A. does beauty. See the full package here.

The work of Clifford Prince King has the intimacy of a conversation on the front porch with a cup of tea. His portraits welcome you with an averted gaze, like “Come in, and close the door behind you,” or with the sincerity of a stare: “I recognize.”

King, who is queer and Black, is interested in experiences — of connection, of longing, of memory, of masculinity. He’s a tactician of tenderness: Touch, desire, spirit, mood are rendered delicately; nothing ever feels forced. A person’s energy is lucid. A kitchen fade makes sense on its own terms.

For this project, King was asked to turn the lens inward for a series of self-portraits. Excavation, typically, isn’t achieved with one stroke; you chip away to reveal what’s been there all along. In these works, King does just that. The tradition of self-portraiture is about unpacking the layers of the self and one’s surroundings. It’s about finding one’s location, location, location in time and space. Here, he is. — The editors

Untitled, (photo booth), 2018. My love for photobooth comes with the absence of a photographer and the allowance for privacy. Photobooths are also what I use to timestamp a certain point in my life, within myself.

(Clifford Prince King)

Self portraits by Clifford Prince King for the Image magazine, Issue 5 - the Beauty issue

Untitled, (in Granny’s Chair) 2019. As a child, I visited my father’s mother every other Summer in Shreveport, Louisiana. My relationship with her was unlike any other- missing her all the time.

(Clifford Prince King)

Self portraits by Clifford Prince King for the Image magazine, Issue 5 - the Beauty issue

Isaiah and Me, 2019. I don’t live in the same state as my nephew. So whenever I visit, I prioritize taking photos of us together, so he has the memory of me being around.

(Clifford Prince King)

Self portraits by Clifford Prince King for the Image magazine, Issue 5 - the Beauty issue

Daybreak, 2019. Arizona born, the desert is home and the morning light is vibrant.

(Clifford Prince King)

Self portraits by Clifford Prince King for the Image magazine, Issue 5 - the Beauty issue.

Dad’s Backyard, 2020. My father used to be a bodybuilder and he still has equipment, rusting in the backyard. I think he holds onto them to hold onto that part of his life.

(Clifford Prince King)

Untitled, Afternoon, 2020. Whenever I receive sad news, I try to remember where and when.

Untitled, Afternoon, 2020. Whenever I receive sad news, I try to remember where and when. With this photo, without question, I remember the news.

(Clifford Prince King)

Self portraits by Clifford Prince King for the Image magazine, Issue 5 - the Beauty issue.

Untitled, 2020. Thoughts of leisure and self care. Removing oneself from the outside.

(Clifford Prince King)

Self portraits by Clifford Prince King for the Image magazine, Issue 5 - the Beauty issue.

Untitled, River, 2020. I woke up early, walked down to the river from camp. Spent some time to myself and reflected on the crazy year I had.

(Clifford Prince King)

Shadows, 2020. I would often hurry home to my room in West Adams to catch the light at its peak time.

Shadows, 2020. I would often hurry home to my room in West Adams to catch the light at its peak time.

(Clifford Prince King)





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