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Located near the Presidio YMCA, this location features Community Snapshots showcasing play, joy, and fun, as well as Visual Story winner Sheilby Macena.


Visual Story

Sheilby Macena

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My work is a reflection of me. It’s my endless desire to expose the beauty of rawness and authenticity across all spectrums, primarily Black identities. I wish to bring a different meaning to intimacy—as Gordon Parks eloquently did—and expand on the many Black experiences that exist, as many prominent Black photographers are doing today. As a first-generation Haitian- American, I seek to put on for my people, my ancestors, and represent us in my work.

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Sheilby Macena is a freelance photographer based in East Oakland, California. Graduating from St. John’s University in the spring of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations, Sheilby left New York City and moved across the country with a fulltime corporate job waiting for her in San Francisco. With all this change, photography became her escape and creative outlet as she transitioned into life after college.

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This project was a photo walk through Lake Merritt with the intention to capture Oakland’s Black Joy at the historical Lake Merritt Park. Due to storefronts and businesses lost during the pandemic, many have turned to sell cuisine, products, merchandise, and goods on the left side of the lake that has now become known as Seller’s Row. Since then, law enforcement has enforced the sellers at the Lake to have permits, creating an obstacle for the many residents trying to stay afloat during this time. One of the reasons for law enforcement’s involvement is due to noise, trash, and misc complaints, primarily from new residents of the area.

These images speak to the resilience, joy, movement, and divinity of Black Oakland while also displaying the community that is suffering from ongoing displacements and disadvantages. A story known all too well.

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