“If you are to know one thing, know that you are gifted,” says Jaimie Milner, the photographer behind "The Gifted Project," a photo series now on view at the Residency art gallery. The project was created to "ignite pride amongst the black community through positive imagery that reminds black men of the undeniable talent and influence they possess," as noted on the artist's website.  

Milner got the idea for the project after being an intern for Walt Disney Studios while 2009’s, The Princess and the Frog was in production. The California native, who animator Mark Henn used as a reference for the film's black princess, quickly noticed her prince was not black. Her realization gave rise to an internal conversation about how black men are portrayed in the media, ultimately leading to the idea for the photo series. 

Milner told the LA Times, "I didn’t see people like my father and friends reflected anywhere in the media. I wanted to show that these men exist — men that cared, that were smart." The project, which took six years to create, highlights black artists, business professionals and politicians. "The Gifted Project" also includes interviews with the photo subjects, and their distinct stories are full of inspiration and empowerment. 

Take a look at some of Milner's photos below and learn more about the "The Gifted Project" online.

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