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Carefree Fairmount Park Portrait Session | Samelle – Tonjanika Smith Photography
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Carefree Fairmount Park Portrait Session | Samelle

“I hope you don’t my mind…” Samelle led with as she inquired about my life as teacher and photographer. Her genuine curiosity coupled with her sweet demeanor made it easy for me to forget that I was the one photographing her! This was always what we loved about her; Samelle had a way of making everyone in the room feel special through her attentiveness and care.

black woman seated in chair in back floral dress and then walking towards camera.
Look at that smile! That walk!

If you’ve ever looked at my New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir galleries, you may recognize Samelle as the director! Today, I’m directing her instead during this portrait session.

We started our session by hauling my patio chair across the wet grounds of the freshly drenched Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. By her smiles, you wouldn’t even know that we battled against mud on our way to this location!

Black woman sits in chair, laughing in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia.
This is the definition of Carefree Black Girl!

This session was easily one of my favorites this summer as we got to channel our inner Solange and show evidence of carefree black girl even in the midst of unfavorable conditions.

I met Samelle her freshman year when she joined New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir and to see her reach her senior year at the University of Pennsylvania is such a momentous achievement. I look forward to cheering on her future success and happiness.

Black woman in chair on left, looking at camera. Flora on the right
So much yes.
Close up of African print on left. Black woman smiling while looking away on the right.
This smile gets me everytime.

Thank you for allowing me to document this moment of your journey. <3

Black woman sitting in chair in the distance. Smiling.

Song Inspiration: “Almeda” by Solange

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