Rebecca Rabb ’16 is standing up for her North Minneapolis roots with her lens. The St. Kate’s business administration major is an active supporter for her community, especially when the media misrepresents it.
Rabb first picked up a camera back in high school. However, her spark for photography ignited when she took a photography class at St. Kate’s last fall. “The class pushed my confidence, even challenged me more outside my comfort zone,” she says. The mother of five began by capturing memories of her two daughters and three sons. Now, her focus has bloomed into a movement for her neighborhood.
For her final class project, Rabb focused on black barbershops in the north side of Minneapolis. “There is a rich history in the barbershops over there — and when I was in them, I started to see the relationships between the fathers and the sons,” she says. Rabb dedicated her time to capturing all the loving fathers in her neighborhood who are actively involved in their children’s lives.
During her project, however, a man named Jamar Clark was killed in a police shooting. The Fourth Precinct, located at the intersection of Plymouth Avenue North and Morgan Avenue in north Minneapolis, shut down in response to this incident. “The images from the media were not an accurate reflection of the solidarity and community that exists on the Northside,” notes Rabb. This made her more determined to show people her perspective of her beloved community.
She went from photographing a few fathers with their children to now having at least one photo shoot a week. Her project snowballed because she was able to get fathers who knew other fathers, “and they got in touch with other men who were very interested in the project,” she explains. This commitment fueled Rabb’s dedication to showing all the loving fathers in North Minneapolis who are actively involved in their children’s lives.
Houston White is one person Rabb photographs most frequently. Although not one of the fathers in the project, he is an avid supporter. White is a local barber who is also originally from the Northside. Rabb spends a decent amount of time at White’s barbershop with her three boys, “connecting with him and really seeing what he is trying to build, which is a positive movement in the community,” she says. Rabb also photographs for him regularly — he has his own clothing, called The Black Excellence Line.
Rabb, who will graduate in December, has future plans for her Northside cause. She wants to create a coffee-table book in which each father shares “what being a father means to him,” she says, and the proceeds will “go back to some north side initiative."