The Photographic Journal

The Drum Major

Essay 200 • Sep 25th 2017

All through high school and up until college I was a member of the Marching Band, a staple in the Southeastern portion of the United States where the bands of Historically Black Colleges and Universities have captivated audiences at halftime of college football games for decades. In many ways band members take on similar duties and burdens as student athletes, with practice schedules and frequent travel, with the distinguished position of Drum Major as the leader of the band, both figuratively and literally. They lead the band onto the field, conducts music, and facilitates practice among other things, and for this reason that is who I chose as the focus of this series. In collaboration with performance artist, Nyugen Smith, I reinterpreted The Drum Major, taking him off the football field and placing him on the streets of Harlem, NYC. 


Sean Pressley is a portrait photographer based in Harlem, NYC and hailing from Charleston, SC. His work explores themes of humor, pop culture, hip-hop, urban life, and the black experience. A product of a diverse upbringing, it has allowed him access to the experiences that directly influence his work.

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