Khalah Brown

Featured in this portrait is model Khalah. Khalah and I were in constant conversation throughout the entire photo shoot. This capture, this moment, (I hope) shows the depth of her soul and moment of reflection. She was open with me from our first encounter; enveloping, and, embracing me in a tight squeeze without formal introduction. I was fortunate to photograph her—she is very selective with being in front of the camera. Her presence at the park was an unexpected blessing. If her depth, her beauty and her light were what people thought of when conjured up Scarborough in their minds, when they imagined South Scarborough and the Lawrence Ave community — they would flock to this place and never leave.

What brings you to Lawrence Avenue East today?
I was actually here to help a friend with her photography. I met a new group of people and they were very friendly and invited us to sit here in the park with them. We sat and shared food. I made a really good friend that day. We ended up just chilling for hours.

What was the experience like having your portrait taken? 
A little bit scary. I normally try to avoid the camera and knowing that it could be potentially used for something like an exhibit, it was hard to act natural. Also in a world where we constantly take selfies it feels very different to have someone else take your photograph. More significant in a way.

What does Lawrence Avenue mean to you?
To me Lawrence because of where I went to school [Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute] it means friends, when I think of Lawrence Avenue, it represents education, community and bonding over things like experience with educators it represents my coming of age.

Tell me a story that happened on Lawrence Avenue.
One afternoon after school… After school we went to a convenience store near the school. We always used to hang out at the Subway restaurant there. We were thinking there is nothing to do around here. We decided we were hungry, scrounged up all our change (at that time it wasn’t a lot) and we bought this dessert chocolate cake and it was frozen.

Photo by Rebecca Akrasi-Sarpong

View Rebecca’s Bio + Artist Statement