October 24, 2016 6:00 AM EDT

This week, TIME’s First Take series features Brooklyn-based documentary photographer Ruddy Roye. Known for his raw and gritty editorial and environmental portraits, Roye sees himself as more than just a photographer – he’s also an activist whose images present society’s injustices.

Roye’s motivation is simple: “I look for dignity,” he says. “I look for what is familiar. I find it easier to look for it in somebody else and to photograph it as a way of talking about it.”

Watch this TIME video to hear Roye’s take.

Ruddy Roye is a Brooklyn based documentary photographer specializing in editorial and environmental portraits.

First Take is an ongoing video series curated by TIME’s photography editors. Watch the previous episodes here.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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