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Longtime photographer Yvonne Kemp among 17 honorees ahead of Juneteenth Day celebration

"Well, a picture is worth a thousand words."
Posted at 10:17 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 23:17:17-04

MILWAUKEE — Seventeen Black leaders in Milwaukee were honored Friday ahead of the 50th anniversary of Juneteenth.

Among the honorees is photographer Yvonne Kemp, a Black woman documenting the story of Black Milwaukee.

"Well, a picture is worth a thousand words,” Kemp said when asked about the value of photojournalists today.

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TMJ4 News held a candid conversation with Kemp, a photographer with over 20 years of experience capturing candid photos of her own.

No camera in hand but her eyes still shifting during the interview, naturally, as she is always looking for that next great shot.

“There's a picture over there. You and I are talking. But I might be looking past you to see that picture that I need to get,” Kemp said.

For her, the grind doesn't stop.

"Because as you know, we are 24-7 people. Holidays, Saturday, Sunday. It doesn't make a difference,” she said.

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Kemp is one of 17 honored during the history and heritage meets legacy and promise reception.

"It makes you feel proud because there are people who do appreciate what you do,” she said.

She's a Black woman on the frontlines covering sports, presidential visits and community events. It’s a rarity, but that didn't intimidate her.

"Let me say this,” Kemp said. “The photography was a man's field and believe me, I had to fight my way through."

Her introduction to photography is directly attributable to her older brother, the late Harry Kemp, a legendary photographer who was also posthumously honored for his own coverage of Milwaukee.

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“What do you think your brother would say about your journey?” TMJ4 News asked. “'Go sis.' That's what he'd say. 'Go sis. You can do it,'" Kemp responded.

A woman in the field, always looking to spot out the money shot, with no signs of slowing down.

"You had to let them know, the men, that I'm here too. And I'm going to take my shot and I will get it,” Kemp said.

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