Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Bronx is Burning pt.1

Prior to going out to the South Bronx on Monday, my uncle told me "The Bronx is a different animal". Having already known this, I knew that there was a special protocol for photographing this area. Whenever I go out with the intention of photographing strangers I try to follow a code of ethics, an etiquette that gives respect to the subjects I'm photographing and adds legitimacy to my work. 

As soon as people start feeling uncomfortable about your presence be sure that they will let you know about it (many times it will be non-verbal communication). Especially here in the Bronx. The key is to be subtle, almost unseen. Luckily, these days, there are so many things that distract people from being aware of their surroundings. Cell phones, iPods, personal conversations, drugs, and a lot of people are just generally in a haze.  

^^^an example of the haze.

^^^an example of a loving moment between a mother and child
 So, for this special trip, I asked a best friend of mine, to accompany me to the South Bronx. For backup purposes. I won't lie to you guys, I didn't know what to expect from this neighborhood. 

We begun our journey on the 4 train at Kingsbridge Rd. took it downtown to 125th st and transferred uptown to the 6. First Stop, Saint Lawrence Av in Soundview. 

We walked down to Morrison and Westchester Av, swung a right and approached E.172nd st. 
Continuing on Morrison we ended up at the famous Bronx River Housing Project. Famous for what? Pioneers of Hip Hop lived HERE! DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kool DJ D, Afrika Bambaataa, and the Black Spades Street Gang (later became The Zulu Nation). Walking through this complex wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The sun shines just like it would any place, people smiled, people minded their own business, kids played in the community pool and playground. I did my work. No one stopped and asked what i was doing there. I was pleasantly surprised. 

 The handball court. A staple in New York City urban culture. There's no age limit, gender or race requirement. Any and everyone can play. NYC is known for its handball following. Especially in the Bronx. This court is no different. As you can see from this wall, the usage is evident. Handball is large. 

 Back on the train, we head back downtown on the 6 train to 125th, to catch the 5 train uptown to Simpson St in Hunts Point. 

Tats Cru holds it down in the South Bronx, especially when it comes to murals. He also had one across the street. 

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