This beautiful family is giving the internet a reminder of American history. Brittany Mayo’s youngest child was turning 1, and she and her husband wanted to celebrate this milestone with a family portrait. Mayo had a specific vision in mind for the location of the photo shoot: a plantation in her native Louisiana, to pay homage to her ancestors.
Mayo, 29, tells Yahoo Lifestyle: “I wanted the photos to be used in our home as a conversation starter to cover those topics that so many of us usually avoid. We have many friends of other ethnicities, and I wanted the opportunity to educate and engage in conversation that would normally be deemed uncomfortable by them.”
She contacted professional photographer Scottie. O., who, at just 23, has more than a decade of experience. They came across the scenery of the photo shoot by accident because their original planned location was being used by a wedding party.
Scottie O. decided to look around the area and stumbled across Tezcuco, a plantation that is now in ruins because of a fire in May 2002. Records show the plantation was built by slave labor starting in 1855.
She tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “I found this spot and loved how the light fell on the space. And I really enjoyed that the ruins of the plantation conveyed a strong sense of overcoming a dark history, as opposed to operating plantations that tend to idolize the culture of slave owners.”
so, I shot a family session at the remains of a plantation that burned down. here a reminder that we are seeds. let them try to bury us. pic.twitter.com/3AKhpaP4rp
— scottie. o. (@scottieo_) August 15, 2017
“I hope these images inspire people to celebrate the love they have among family,” says the photographer. “It’s an exhausting political climate from all sides. It’s important to remember the love we have between our friends and family is necessary to help us recharge and regroup.”
Viewers have expressed deep love and admiration for what these photos represent. And as Scottie O. caption her viral tweet, “I shot a family session at the remains of a plantation that burned down. Here a reminder that we are seeds. Let them try to bury us.”
Beautiful family and beautiful pictures
— Jay'Andrelle (@JayAndrelle) August 17, 2017
The second picture is what triumph and hope looks like. A happy black family sitting on the gutted shell of a plantation. Beautiful.
— Andy (@osoleve) August 16, 2017
Took a horrible past and created something beautiful and strong ❤️ love this
— Joshua Werner (@JoshuaFrantic) August 16, 2017
Holy moly. Powerful shots. Amazing work!
— Krees! (@cganders) August 17, 2017
Mayo acknowledges that all feedback has not been positive, but she is happy that the images are creating a bigger topic of conversation.
“Many people have asked, ‘How on earth we can even think about stepping foot on a plantation?'” she says. “I do, simply to revere my ancestors. Today, when we bury our loved ones, we go back and visit their burial sites over time. In a sense, plantation visits are the same for me.”
Mayo adds: “I knew I wanted to ignite more conversation, but I had no idea it would cause this much of a stir. Our goal was met and then some.”
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