LOCAL NEWS

Tintype Exhibit At BYU Spotlights Racism From Past To Present

Mar 19, 2021, 3:51 PM

PROVO, Utah – Tintype photography dates back before the Civil War and today a student at Brigham Young University has found new relevancy for it in a project that highlights ongoing societal struggles with racism.

Maddie Casagranda’s Black Stories Project, currently on display at BYU’s Harold B. Lee Library, seeks to amplify the voices and experiences of Black Utahns.

“Basically the last time the tintype process was used to photograph Black people was photographing slaves and people who were involved in the Civil War time and so it’s very jarring,” Casagranda said. “I just don’t feel like we can address racism unless we address the history behind it because the racism in our country is so, so rooted in the last 200, 300 years and even before that.”

As protests over social injustice and racial inequality took shape across the country last year, Casagranda began her project to capture individual stories from the local community.

“With George Floyd and all of that, when that started happening I kind of sat back and realized I wasn’t getting that exposure that I had in other places I had lived,” Casagranda said. “I admit, I got pretty upset about a lot of things and I sort of felt a sense of anger for the people I was photographing and almost like a sense of protection over them. I would go home just feeling angry and sad and just wished I could just fix everything.”

She photographed and interviewed 76 members of Utah’s Black community from Utah County and Salt Lake County and learned of countless heartbreaking experiences.

Part of Madison Casagranda’s Black Stories Project, which is on display at the Harold B. Lee Library through March 26. (KSL-TV)

Jalyn Briggs recalled a time growing up in Provo when a woman told her “it’s people like you that are the problem with our church.”

Alex Stewart-Johnson, who moved to Utah in 2018, said his eyes were suddenly opened after an encounter in Arkansas.

“I went to a school in Conway, Arkansas, and having police officers pull guns on me, right, in a very chill conversation environment,” he said. “I remember calling my dad after, crying, and asking, like, ‘What is this? What’s going on?’ and him saying, ‘I honestly had hoped stuff like this wouldn’t happen to you guys and the reality is there is nothing I can tell you that will make it better, but it is what it is.’”

Dumdi Baribe, a Nigerian-American studying at Utah Valley University said this state can be a very difficult place to have conversations regarding race.

“The solution is we need to recognize that there is diversity and it’s beautiful and we can learn from each other,” Baribe said.

The photographer acknowledged she might face scrutiny for taking on the project as a white person photographing Black people, but those she photographed didn’t see it that way.

Madison Casagranda, a BYU photography and art education student. (KSL-TV)

“In this world we live in, she could have caught a lot of backlash for putting herself out to do that,” Stewart-Johnson said. “We all have our own mediums and spaces where we can effectuate change and this was hers.”

Baribe agreed.

“The way Maddie has done this has allowed more people to meet the moment and to take it past the moment, take it past the trend,” Baribe said.

Briggs acknowledged change isn’t always fast.

“I do feel like we have quite a ways to go,” Briggs said. “My hope in this is that people will take the time to stop and just listen to our stories. We don’t say this because we have a vendetta or we want people to feel bad. We say it because we actually want things to get better and we want people to recognize there are a lot of struggles within our community. There are a lot of things you might not see as part of a majority, and if you just take a moment to listen to anyone’s story who is a part of this project, then maybe it will open your eyes to change one aspect of your life.”

Casagranda was hopeful the Black Stories Project would make a difference and help people to see and recognize racism where it exists today.

Madison Casagranda, a BYU photography and art education student. (KSL-TV)

“My experience is not the only experience and my lens is not the only way to see things,” Casagranda said. “It’s important to confront uncomfortable truths.”

The exhibit is in place on level five of the Harold B. Lee Library through March 26.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Karah Brackin

Granite School District facing staffing shortages

Despite the pandemic, Granite School District’s spokesperson, Ben Horsley, said they have always needed more paraeducators. 
13 hours ago
Orem High School student council and cheerleaders getting ready to welcome their fellow students....
Matt Rascon

Thousands return to school in Alpine School District

The Alpine School District readies itself to welcome its 85,000 students back to the classroom.
13 hours ago
Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Provo sculptor to unveil latest creation at Little League World Series this week

For the first time, a team from Utah is in the Little League World Series. The tournament in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, will also feature a Utah sculptor who will be unveiling quite a statue.
13 hours ago
(Weber County Sheriff's Office)...
Madison Swenson

Vehicle recovered from Pineview Reservoir after leaving roadway

A vehicle was recovered from Pineview Reservoir Tuesday after authorities say it left the roadway.
13 hours ago
First responders at the fatal crash on Trappers Loop. (Mountain Green Fire Protection District)...
Michael Houck

Motorcyclist dead after crash, thrown ‘150 feet’ into embankment on Trappers Loop 

A motorcyclist is dead after a crash on Trappers Loop, causing him to be thrown down the embankment.
13 hours ago
Taylorsville police at the scene of the fatal shooting. (Taylorsville Police)...
Michael Houck & Karah Brackin

Police: Man, woman found dead in Taylorsville shooting

A man and woman were found dead with gunshot wounds in Taylorsville Wednesday morning, according to police.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Tintype Exhibit At BYU Spotlights Racism From Past To Present