Ebony (Marvin Joseph)

"You know, the camera is not meant just to show misery," the legendary photographer Gordon Parks once said. I take that message to heart. My day job is making news and features photographs for TheWashington Post. On my own time, however, my camera and I are pushing against the margins, stalking the outer edges of acceptability.


Ricardo, left, in suspenders and a $7 skirt (Photo by Marvin Joseph)

One of my passions is turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. I incorporate this notion in my job, but it's when I'm with friends or neighbors or have met someone on the street who inspires me that I am transported to my happy place.


Alex evokes the late David Bowie. (Marvin Joseph)

I love how extraordinary ordinary people are. I like to create beauty and art with ordinary folks. I love the reaction they have when they see themselves spun into art. A friend becomes the late David Bowie. We shot that work long before the singer died this month. When I saw her short, cropped blond hair, the first thought I had was the shape shifting, gender bending Bowie.


Jamael (Marvin Joseph)

I like the daring, the unexpected, the things that may make you do a double take or make you feel just a little uncomfortable. A man in a $7 skirt and non-traditional suspenders—worn backward, by the way. The face of a woman veiled by a scarf. The face of a man veiled by a T-shirt.


Troy interprets Batman’s nemesis the Joker. (Marvin Joseph)

A friend transformed into the Joker. I am constantly experimenting. Sometimes the chemistry works, and sometimes it doesn't. But experimenting is howI—and others—get the bestwork.On occasion in my passion pursuits I've included professional models or aspiring ones. But mostly I photograph ordinary people. Sometimes, a modeling agency calls to ask me who the "model" is in my photograph.


Jackie (Marvin Joseph)

That always makes me laugh because that means I've succeeded. It's like you're going into the kitchen and you haven't been grocery shopping, but you do have food in the kitchen. It's an art to take what you have and whip up a great meal. I am always hungry for that next great meal.