Lelanie Foster on taking Supreme Court portrait of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

“I wanted to create a regal and befitting portrait of her,” Foster explained. “But I also kind of wanted to have a set and make it a bit more modern. So that was the idea of ​​having a backdrop in there as well.”

She added, “She’s so calm. It’s like it draws your attention to her even more.”

When Jackson arrived on set, she was instantly taken with Foster. The two struck up a conversation about a photo project Foster worked on for The New York Times.

Foster had taken 22 photos of women from the Harvard Black Law Students Association, of which Jackson was once a member, on April 7. With the help of a journalist, Foster’s portrayals eloquently tell how Jackson’s accomplishments inspired many black law schools. students.

“She immediately started a conversation about it and how much she loved reading this article, so it was like, oh, this woman is amazing,” Foster said with a laugh.

“I felt like she would be a very warm person, and she was and so much more,” she added.

On Friday, Foster shared her portrait of Jackson on instagram. The photo was so popular that Oprah Winfrey re-shared it and captioned the snap with a verse from a poem by Mari Evans – one of her favorites – “I am a black woman”:

I am a black woman / Tall as a cypress / Strong / Defying place / and time / And circumstances / Assaulted / Insensitive / Indestructible / Look at me and be renewed

“I feel a great renewal today for the courage and grace of our new Supreme Court Justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson,” Winfrey added.

Seeing the repost made Foster even more proud of what she created.

“It’s so crazy to see and it’s so special to see how famous the image becomes,” she said.

Foster couldn’t deny that she also felt very inspired by Jackson. As a woman who identifies as Black, Caribbean, Multiethnic, and LatinaFoster said it was an “incredible honor” to be in Jackson’s presence and see all that she represents.

“For the black community, for black women, it’s just the visual. It’s an affirmation of existence,” she said. “And that we’re here and we can do it and that’s the proof. The proof is in the pudding.”

“To see her in this position means so much to everyone who follows, whether in this field or whatever,” Foster continued. “It’s really a powerful testimony of existence and recognition, really.”