Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States
Photographing strangers on the street is like having an epic novel read aloud to you, only it's real. You're connected. You're involved. And you carry every piece of it with you from then on. I started photographing people in my adopted neighborhood, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, soon after moving here in 2015. I've always used photography as a way of meeting people, and I was especially drawn to the residents of Bed-Stuy, who foster the most inclusive feeling of community I've experienced in my 24 years of living in NYC. Friends, couples, family members, chosen or not, often caught my eye. Portals into both Bed-Stuy and humanity at large, these acutely personal ties are both unique and universal, and they're also the driving force behind the perseverance of this community.
In street portrait photography, the very fact that exchanges are short and anonymous is what makes them so meaningful. Far deeper than a "hello" or "good morning," making a portrait with a stranger is a profound, unique burgeoning of connection that reminds me never to give up on humanity. Having these experiences right outside my front door, in a place I call home, whose sidewalks I sweep, and bodega employees I wave to, and collective pain and joy of daily life I seep in, these transmissions of trust become something more: they become personal ties, too.
There’s a great deal that these photographs don't show, including the long and winding process and experience of making them: the voices I heard, and faces I saw, and interactions that took place during my many miles of walking the streets of Bed-Stuy that aren't recorded here. I've heard of photographs being like trophies, awards for actually going out there and doing it. But for me photographs are simply what's shareable of an experience too complex, too multi-sensorial, too much of every aspect of life to possibly impart. They are the cream that rises to the top, while all the rest—all that wasn't photographable—supports and lifts them.