Thursday, August 09, 2007

A View of Stead Park ... From The Perspective of A Black Man!

Having visited the Whitman Walker Clinic for my scheduled 6 month phlebotomy I'd embark on my ritual 14th and P streets photo walk which is something that I have done for many years.

After photographing Windows and Men At Work on Church Street, between 14th and 15th Street, NW, I'd head over to Stead Park for the purpose of photographing the mural on the exterior wall of Cafe Luna. Which has interested me for many years but I have not yet been able to locate information pertaining to its history. Which I, almost am certain, must have had something to do with Cafe Luna's former owner Andy Shallal. Who recently opened the Bus Boys & Poets.

Usually when I pass by Stead Park there are young men shooting hoops or kicking soccer balls and while I have never had a problem with the latino nor white guys - almost always, I've had confrontations with the black guys who 'diss me'. Sometimes saying "I better not see any of your images of me in The Blade".

Perhaps, they should read my 13 May 2005 Letter to the Editor pertaining to class and race issues within the gay and lesbian community.

As a black man, I often encounter forms of racism and sexism from blacks that they would not dispense toward a white person. But, the racism is not only from other blacks but whites as well. In particular, white lesbians as was the case during the 2005 Dyke March or a few months before with the February 2005 incident at Stead Park.

While photographing the mural at Stead Park from the street level and observing a woman walking toward me with a parasol I thought, to myself, "it is so hot out today, a parasol is exactly what I need". As she neared me I realized that the lady was Shira Keyes who I've known for several years through my association with Code Pink for Women.

She, again, thanked me for the images that I took of her and her daughter during last year's Planet Arlington - World Music Festival. I told her that, unfortunately, I would not be able to attend the 2007 event since I'll be in New York City from the 1 - 15 September.

I then jokingly said "... a parasol is just what I need for today's heat!". Agreeing, she said that she picked it up from a store in Chinatown.

Mentioning that the mural at Stead Park was amongst my ongoing projects I told her since there were no basketball or soccer players around that it was a great opportunity for me to get some shots of the mural from a different and, perhaps, better perspective. I then inquired if I may capture the mural as a reflection in her sun shades.

"From The Perspective Of ..." is an ongoing project that began on 08 March 1992 when I photographed 'my other' and he photographed me at the hotel just off Scott Circle. A few days later we flew out to San Francisco.

While "From The Perspective Of ..." often sheds light on my experiences as a black male it is an ongoing project that invites others to express their opinions or share their experiences pertaining to issues and matters that are important to or that affect them.

Back to the mural at Stead Park.

Without the interferance and sometimes obstruction of the players I was able see, for the first time, that the mural is an artistic expression of the 'Wizard Of Oz'. Which I will discuss in a seperate blog posting.

With the absence of racism or obstruction of others I always get a different and much better perspective of the world.

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