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Northington, Jake. Interview, 2019-11-22

Identifier: SC027-13

Scope and Contents

Jake Northington is a California State University San Marcos alumnus. He graduated with his degree in Photography in 2019. In this interview, Jake discusses his artistic influences, the importance of Black representation in his photography, and his involvement in CSUSM’s Black Student Center and the Black SistaHood.


  • 2019-11-22


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Biographical / Historical

Jake Northington grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. East St. Louis was about 98% Black and full of culture when he grew up there and Northington states that he loved it everyday until he had to move. Northington moved around an extreme amount which landed him in over 20 schools. In part because he moved around so much, he was able to see Black people in a large bandwidth of personalities, temperaments, economics, ideologies, style, and movement. Northing sees art in everything his eyes absorb so seeing Black people in this manner is his joy; beauty and positivity that should be shown. Northington states, "This planet has shown so much negativity surrounding everything associated with Black people so I have chosen to use my vision to add some balance and reproduce the positive. As a child I would use every sheet of paper, cardboard packaging, wall, desk at school, or brochure to draw on and reproduce the images in my head which I saw the beauty in. This sketching turned into me transforming my notebooks for school into drawing pads. My ideas and thoughts continued to grow over the years and the drawings became bigger and the pictures in my head need a new medium. I took a single digital photography class here at CSUSM in 2016 and since then I have been fully engrossed in using this medium to push positive propaganda of Blackness. That class introduced me to the idea of photobooks and I instantly had a thought to create a book specifically to visually assist in changing the narrative surrounding Black people. I took a single social issue facing Black people and shine light on a corrective measure using photography. My photobooks came out exactly like I wanted them to and the responses to them have been even better. I am just taking the view I have of Black people and reproducing it through the camera for everyone to share what my eyes see in my people. The thought is for this to bring more positive thoughts, interactions, and treatment to Black people everywhere."

Northington's first official photobook speaks to Black women loving their natural hair. Book two surrounds the ideals of how we see Black men. Northington's work shows them as positive people in their everyday lives not having to smile or entertain to be accepted or seen. Book three depicts the unity and love amongst Black people enjoying and loving life just being who and what they are.

Northington is currently a graduate student at California State University Fullerton. He plans to continue producing photography.


From the Collection: 256 Gigabytes

From the Collection: 29 Cassettes