Black Future Month // 2-2-11 // Nican Robinson, Photographer
Posted on February 2, 2011
Nican Robinson is a true renaissance man. The kind of Robinson that makes you think of Robeson. or Parks.
Now, if you’ve never met Nican, that may seem like a lot of gas from the Thickwit staff. If you have met Nican, you probably think it’s an understatement. I think the best way to settle the discrepancy is just to highlight the young man’s accomplishments.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Off top, he’s a stellar athlete.
This I know, mostly cause I went to elementary school with him. [And if we’re being honest, I went to gymnastics with him and the rest of the Robinson clan. The whole family is overachieving: focused, talented, honest, nice, and nice with theirs. You may as well google Maresha and Zenan, too.] In addition to being a beast on the pommel horse, he’s had a way with the rock for as long as I can remember. He used to practice an ill Tim Hardaway inspired killer crossover out front of the gym, and broke ankles on the mini-courts at Shelton’s Primary Education Center. I didn’t. But that is a different story. Here and now, we’re talking about excellence. Nican’s.
If you attended Oakland Technical HS at the same time as Nican, you’d have seen him named MVP of the Bulldog’s hoop team in ’05, averaging something like 18 points per game. The dude graduated from Tech, moved to LA, walked on at UCLA, transferred to UC Berkeley, and walked onto their squad, too. None of this surprised me.
But when I looked up last year and saw Nican’s photography, I was genuinely, thoroughly and pleasantly shocked. Flicking everything from high fashion editorial; to simple, elegant portraiture; to breathtaking scenic shots, Mr. Robinson is sure to be known as one of the landmark photographers of our generation.
Since Nican is also handsome as all get out, a tremendously skilled writer, and knowing that most still photographers have aspirations towards motion picture, I have a hard time avoiding the Gordon Parks comparison. Here’s a brief photo essay curated by Nican himself. Click on each thumbnail to see the image larger in our frames. Click a second time to see it in a window all it’s own.
I’m also including a few Gordon Parks flicks, just to ground and affirm the correlation I’ve made.
Black Future Month celebrates the life and legacy of Mr. Nican Robinson. Thickwitness is proud to be the first to advance him his lifetime achievement award.