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.

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