My kind of picture.
Something backlighted. Something different. Something about nature. I made this picture on a walk. Another dog walk. We are starting to work together again. She stops. I stop. I stop. She stops. Good timing. Good communication.
I’m doing this a little inside out. This is one of those photographs that is best made in the moment. You may see it start to form as you walk to the place from which you want to work. When you arrive, everything — the sun, the trees and even the star — is just as you hoped. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. You’re done. When you develop it you find that the exposure was right on. There is very little work to do. Next stop. Storyteller.
I had a couple of Zoom meetings. One meeting. One presentation. I looked at the work of Peter Turnley. He’s fairly legendary in the photojournalistic world. I know him a little bit. He showed us his work during his three months in New York City. The three months when the virus was surging and nobody had any idea what to expect. He worked everyday. 90 days.
He had no client. He did it for himself. He had to.
His work is amazing. You know that I was born there. Well, in Brooklyn. When Brooklyn didn’t have panache that it does today. His pictures made me cry. Not only is the city my first home, but you could see the kindness, compassion and tiredness in the eyes of the front line medical staffs.
He knows something that I know. In his case, he realized that almost every group that he photographed were predominantly made up of people of color. They were the ones who did the hardest jobs. They were also among the kindest people.
I known it for a while.
It really hit home for me last Mardi Gras. As you might remember, I mostly gave up working because walking was too painful for me. I realized it that one night when I could barely walk the length of a long street where the floats were lining up.
I knew I need a break.
I needed to sit down. The first two porches I came to were owned by white people. Give me a break. You’ll see where I’m going with this. Both groups suggested I find some place further down the street and that I sit on the curb.
Thanks a lot. If I sat on the curb, I would need help getting up.
I walked about two houses further and asked if I could sit down. Not only did the couple let me sit down, but they gave me a bottle of water and some food from their picnic dinner.
We chatted and introduced ourselves. It turns out that they were grandpa and grandma to the young boy who was with them. I made portraits of all of them. The little boy was playing. I made pictures of that. I helped them clean up and thanked them. I sent them pictures.
Care to guess?
My own — supposedly — people turned me down. Twice.
Black people took me in. They fed me. They let me sit with them. We got to know each other a little.
I know what Peter knows.
We learned it working on the street. Most of you who follow my exploits here on Storyteller believe the same things. We believe in the equality of all people. Racism and the killing of a Black man by white cops disgusts us. But, until you are there, really there, you don’t what the goodness of all races means. I’m not sure that I do.
I’m willing to learn. And, I’m willing to listen
Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every sandwich.
Leave a Reply