16 Questions about One Photo with Louis Carr


1. Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How long have you been into photography? 

My name is Louis. I’m 54 year old freelance photographer born and raised in Santa Monica, California. I
started photography super young with my Grandpa. He told me it would take me places I may never get
to visit. I think we started at around 12 years old. So about 42 years now.

2. In one sentence, please describe what you captured in this shot.

I’m praying in this image. It’s mid-morning and I’m in conversation with God, my creator.

3. Why did you select this photo to share?

Well, I wholeheartedly believe in the magic, truth, and freedom of storying telling. In fact,
#DocumentingBlackLife is a very popular hashtag I created on Instagram and many folks use it now. I came
to social media for one thing and one things only back in 2007 when I created my YouTube channel. It
was to raise awareness for homelessness. I used my own personal story and added the stories of others.
In 2018 my health began to fail and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Prayer became even more
important to me and today, by the grace of God, FAITH and PRAYER has kept me here.

4. What style of photography would you describe this as and do you typically take photographs in this style? 

I’d call it raw documenting. It’s my own personal story of living with HIV, getting an AIDS diagnosis, and
later a cancer diagnosis one month apart and all the hell my life has been in as a direct result.

The bulk of my photography in one form or another is documentary and in more ways than one is
centered around Black people and many times my own personal story is tied to what I am documenting.
So from my life on celebrity red carpets, to Skid Row. My life documenting Black life to fighting for
housing rights and access to healthcare on the national stage. There’s always a point or message in my
photography. Even when I’m just out doing street photography.

5. When and where was this photo taken? 

February 3rd, 2021, after over a decade of being in care and the only bumps were not having access to
lifesaving medication. The next day having to put my dog, Dodger, down, then March 10th, 2021, getting
diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Completely treatable and curable, but here we are in
2023 and I am not cancer free. To be honest I haven’t had treatments in over a year. My entire life has
been completely upside down, I’ve lost friends and I’d even argue lost all faith and respect for the
medical profession as a whole. To be very honest, I now have so many health issues I’m basically fighting
for my life while everything in my life, including what I love, photography, has come to a complete stop.

At the suggestion of my dear friend and creative partner, Sterling, I started documenting myself. I made
sure friends went with me to every single appointment and were present for every single phone call
with LAC-USC and any other doctor I was seeing.

6. Was anyone with you when you took this photo?

I was alone one morning I snapped this shot.

7. What equipment (hardware and software) did you use?

I just didn’t know want else to do but pray, so while I was praying I decided to document it using Canon Camera Assist application. This was the only shot I took. I keep my edits very simple. Adobe Lightroom is all I ever use.

8. What drew you to choose this photo? 

To be honest I was drawn to so much of my work, but I wanted to hopefully share something that would
encourage the reader to hold on or offer a glimpse of hope, but at the same time encourage people to
be their own advocate while encouraging others to do all they can to help their loved one hold on and
not give up. FAITH and PRAYERS keep me and my friends involved and circled around me.

9. How many attempts did it take to get this shot? How long did it take you to get one that you were satisfied with? 

This was the first and only shot I took. My focus was on praying.

10. Did you edit (or do any post-processing/production on) this photo?

Yeah, Adobe Lightroom. I use Lightroom for all my editing. It’s easy simple and honest.

11. What encouraged you to share this photo online and with others? 

The same reason I was drawn to the picture is the same reasons I shared it. Documenting and
storytelling is what I do. I can share my own story in hopes of getting this huge load off of me
help me to think and process things better. Plus if someone can gain some help along the way then

12. Did you learn anything in the process of taking, editing, or sharing this photo?

As far as photography I’ve learned to keep it simple. The image itself will speak volumes. Just take it. It
won’t need many words. As far a my daily life is concerned, I’ve learned I must not stop praying but
most of all I must not stop being thankful and counting my blessings even as I go through the storm.
Prayer doesn’t excuse you, it does in fact, require you to work harder. Prayer without work is dead. This,
all this, I am going through is constant work and requires much prayer.

13. Do you remember what you had for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) the day you took this

I don’t recall what I ate this day. The funny thing is that I could most likely and very easily find out what
it was because I more than likely photographed it. Flickr, is by far the best glimpse into me.

14. What would you like people to take away from this photo?

Hope. I want folks to take away HOPE and the fact that what is in front of us isn’t a judgement or
punishment from God or the universe, it’s simply something along your path. So just hold on, believe in
yourself, trust yourself, give yourself grace and surround yourself with people who truly love you.

Although it may seem like it, death isn’t the answer. It may be dark and you may be completely alone
but in the words of my dear friend Donald Bernard, “God will always send somebody”. You hold on with
all your might. YOU will smile and laugh again. Life has a way of placing stumbling blocks in our way, but
FAITH teaches us to hold on and know that all things work together for good. But most of all we must
know that this race isn’t given to the swift nor the strong but to those who endure to the end.

15. Is there any advice that you’d like share with our readers?

The advice I’d give is to share a piece of you and watch how it blesses others but comes right back to
bless you even more.

16. How can anyone reading this support your work?

My entire body of work can be found on Flickr. Also on Instagram @projectkengikat and
@louiscarrphotography and @scvisualz where I share the stage with my freakishly talented best friend
and creative partner, my muse of choice, my #1, Sterling Scott.

About Louis Carr 

Louis Carr is a freelance photographer born and raised in Santa Monica, California. He’s been in the world of photography for 42 years most recently documenting his own journey of health and the importance of prayer and support.