a routine mammo followed by the unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer.... my head was swirling. .. i couldn’t imagine what might be my life in the coming year or more..... the first words.. chemotherapy turned my insides out.... loss of hair.. the world would know.. i would be exposed... to them.. to myself.. to my inner world of terror.... as i grappled with a long period of time in treatment. surgery... radiation... i peeled the layers back inside myself.. and found the most important gem.. myself.. true identity. truly exposed.... it was then i turned the camera on myself.. ..
Dusty roads going on in every direction ... the sounds of wagon wheels and horses hooves ... quietude... community ... a shared way of life and understanding ... this is daily life in Davies County, Indiana, and Lancaster, Pa.
I’ve been visiting the Chassidic community in Williamsburg, New York, for years. Often I feel like an outsider in a very closed, tight-knit community, but my desire to walk amongst them and penetrate into the tempo of their lives in the streets has kept me coming back.
My son was a die-hard reggae fanatic ... turned Rasta at the age of 14. As a doting mom, and respecting his path, I began to take him to Jamaica several times a year. What I didn’t expect was that many years later, after a healthcare issue, I would go back with a point-and-shoot camera and find myself discovering photography.
I hired a driver, grabbed the camera, stopped the car and found myself in people’s yards, talking to strangers down in the river washing clothes, people becoming new friends everywhere. I had found what set my soul on fire.
In the beginning I actually thought I HAD to be in Jamaica to shoot ... it was a birthplace for me ... of visual literacy. So while I have a category for my love and passion for the West Indies, I have a special place for my beginning: Jamaica
San Francisco, Manhattan, Flushing ...the vibrancy of community ... markets, vendors, people fixing shoes and making keys, carrying pigs and noodles, lining up for dumplings, everyone in the mix ...
The parks ... men and women sitting and talking, some sleeping, shoes off ... birds chirping in their cages hung from the trees ... always games, gambling with cards or tiles, lots of women and men separated into circles of camaraderie, huddled for hours ...
These communities are like entering a zone ...one of demarcation: where it begins ... the stores, the markets, the foods, the fervor ... and where it ends ...
Familiar with the streets from so many visits, I have become one of them. I know my way. I walk, twisting and turning in and out of the streets and alleyways ... just as they do ... they in search of a deal as they shop, I in search of my next image.
portrait new york
remnants of a life lived
after a fire, hurricane, drought, foreclosure.... when someone dies.... there is so much left behind.... abandoned... forgotten....in the race to survive.. to move........ some later to be discovered even in flea markets......items that have no meaning to those left with those belongings yet they were so special... attached to memories for the one who held on to them....... its in these places.. these items.. that often haunt me... whether in tragedy or just something found all on its own..... who did this belong to.... are they alive.. did they move on.. did they have to find a new location... are they coming back for these things........ mortality too... where will my belongings go.... which are the ones that mean everything to me....
warmth. sun. whimsy ... people free from what inhibits them makes for great observation and capture for the photographer.
sundays in harlem
It began one Sunday ... getting there after the morning sun, before the church bells rang ... meandering the streets and watching people scurry along the sidewalks to church in their finest ... or just talking in the street, huddled in shared laughter and gossip ... familiar people, hugs, camaraderie ... children at their feet or nearby running in circles ... girls wanting to look like their moms holding purses and wearing hats, just as delicious in their Sunday best.
I found myself researching many of the small churches in the area, becoming a regular at some (I even got my own sign for my car so I could double-park if I wanted). I have begun to document the churches but my focus always is the people ... community ... always community ...
Sometimes I go into a service, sit for awhile ... kind of interesting as a born Jew ... I love the music ... the hands swaying. I love the sense of community inside ... and I love being in the streets before and after the service. Hugs and kisses all around ... belonging.