1 day ago
Brooklyn / Times Square, 2018.
Brooklyn is a marbled textured borough that mixes gentrified areas with projects and everything in-between. As I was walking a long, a group of young latino and black men, all seating in the corner bench yelled out asking to see my camera. Usually these requests can be a good way of connecting but something triggered a warning - it wasn't the colour of their skin or the way they dressed or the how they spoke, it was how they looked at me, focusing on my items, appraising me; and, as a disclaimer, this trigger, this kind of situation, used to be what preceded unwanted altercations when I was younger, something way too familiar. So I kept my posture, tried not to engage and kept walking. But, in the back of my mind, something was gnawing away, "that would've been a great photo / what bullshit was that? / if the photo is worth it we don't shy away". So I turned back. As soon as I got there they asked if I was back for the photos, I said yes and Dre jumped up ready to pose. A few gang signs, middle fingers and very little chat later I had my photos and we exchanged contacts so I could send him a copy. After that he resumed his seat on the bench and his business as a drug dealer. The photo isn't great but carries with it a good lesson.
This next story is miles apart, literally and figuratively.
Times Square is as bright as it is filled with tourists, drawn by the allure of this familiar spot. As I was wandering by, I started to pay attention to the faces staring at the giant screens, faces awash with coloured light. And, in the middle of all those tourists, there was this local looking man, bag in one hand and cigarillo in the other, standing to the side. As I approached him, he looked at my camera and smiled, I returned the smiled and he gazed upwards, as if getting ready for a portrait. Seconds later he turned his back and left. Again, the photo isn't great but carries with it a good memory.
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