ArkLaTex Artistry: Debra Roberson; photographer, writer aims to remind people of history

An in-depth look a Debra Roberson's photography, inspiration, and process.
Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 10:56 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (Ark-La-Tex Weekend) - Award-winning, critic-approved photographer shares her story and inspirations for her photography.

Debra Roberson is a photographer from Houston, Texas, but spent much of her childhood in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where her family is from. The two worlds were far apart in those days. As a Black girl, she faced racism and oppression.

Overcoming odds and criticism from fellow students and her teachers, who believed she did not deserve better, Roberson was awarded entry into an Ivy League school, Dartmouth College, in New Hampshire. This began her interest in photography. She learned French and eventually stayed in Europe, traveling some and photographing places in Spain, Italy, and Germany during the Carnival season.

After returning to the United States, Roberson ended up settling here in Shreveport, Louisiana. During her time here she had an extensive 30-year career working in information technology (IT) but then decided to make a change. Roberson returned to school at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) and there she rediscovered her interest and passion in the art of photography.

An in-depth look at Debra Roberson’s Photography:

Roberson’s subjects in her photography are nature, such as trees, birds, and flowers, but she also photographs historical buildings and places. Some of her most captivating work revolves around these photographs of historical places that have significance to Black history and the struggle Black people endured during the times of slavery.

Roberson’s parents and grandparents lived and worked on plantations growing up, inspiring her to document those places and remind the world of what happened.

An exploration of certain pieces of work by Debra Roberson and the reason why she captured the image.

“Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it,” Roberson says, living by this motto as an artist.

Her art’s raw truth is captured for the world to face. History is laid out in beautiful black-and-white images of these buildings and cotton fields, and the ghosts of the past cannot be avoided. Reminding any who sees her work, where we have been so we can know where we want to be as a society.

When asked what advice she would give someone interested in photography, Debra encourages all, “It’s never too late. If you are interested in photography, take a class, learn the fundamentals.”

To follow Debra Roberson and her photography, visit her site at See the full interview on News 12 Now app, Roku TV, Fire TV, and Apple TV apps.