We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheryl Dunn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cheryl, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am Phoenix Arizona born and raised. I loved hanging out with my grandmother, Roberta Henry as a kid granted she was in block watch groups and talked to local political figures. She loved talking to people here in our local community no matter which one it is or what their background is. They had such unique and amazing stories to tell. I guess you can say my curiosity and appreciation for anything local came from my grandmother. As a local artist or business owner no matter where you are from, you have so much to give. Do not let anyone stop you!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a photographer and model for positive change. That is what kind of scares society. I photograph people who need to be heard and seen: the IDD community, people of color, plus size individuals, and hopefully along the line, LGBTQ community. And I like to break the rule of not Photoshopping flaws out of people. You are a beautiful individual and you don’t need a computer program to take away your beauty flaws. It may not get me any money at all but I am sure people are finally hearing me and seeing me. In terms of my modeling, I know a photographer has their way of editing. It just won’t take away the fact that I love myself and my flaws no matter what the photographers do.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Without hesitation, we can all cruise Phoenix Public Market’s farmer’s market and get your local good fix. I am always there for the fresh produce, baked goods, and sweets. Also without any hesitation, First Friday at Roosevelt Row. I know people will tell me, “Why can’t we just go hike the trails like normal tourists?” Nope. Sorry. You can do that every day. If you want to do local things, support local. They are the ones who make Arizona who they are. The hospitality is amazing!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Here in Arizona, of course it’s Timothy Bolen. We have been good friends since I made my first appearence at one of the Best Buddies Arizona events as a photographer in 2013. It is now 2020 and I am the official team photographer for the 2Gether We Live. For the one who saw me first and introduced me to the local creative community is Vince Craig. He is a damn good photographer with his portraiture. Yes, we started somewhat at the same time but he had more knowledge of what was out there to make my knowledge of the industry grow. And I am very blessed that Vince found me and taught me of what he knows. In the creative community, there is such a ton. Creatives such as Dee Riley (thickumms.com ), Amanda De Leon (model), Harley Cyn (cosplayer), and Ila Alagia-Wist (photographer). Since we are in the pandemic of Covid 19, I got help from a very unlikely place and made fast friends with an indie Rock musician and an indie rock group on Facebook which they are based out in California. And their names are Hello Noon and Avatari, Let’s just say I got a warm and humble reminder that we will all get through this pandemic together. Just because we are in a bit of a hiccup in this life does not mean we stop creating. I will be back with 2Gether We Live again and I will photograph their fast paced action in all kinds of races. I will clean out my creative clutter and create breathtakingly beautifull images. I will model here and there. And Hello Noon and Avatari will go on tour and rock the house. And finally, we will all meet. You might be surprised on how big of a village it takes to create you.
Photographer picture: LaChandra Benson Image 1: Christopher Moyer (make up: Alvin Moyer) Image 2: Erika White and Veronica Smith (make up: Honey Hush) Image 3: Carla Rainell Hills Imge 4: Enedina Michel (make up: Alvin Moyer) Image 5: Maddox Ray Image 6: Darcella Prouty Image 7: Jessica Cecilia Image 8: Shawné Robinson