Since first meeting and capturing The Sergeant of Dupont Circle last August seldom to I not pass through Dupont Circle without looking for him. In recent months he has suggested that we shoould collaborate of one or two stories which I am contemplating.
But as I told him, it is not my intention nor practice to tell the story of others but more that my photography is about capturing 'a moment in time'. And since an image of 'a moment in the time of one's life could not ever tell the whole story nor could I ever attempt to tell another's story based on the few moments in each of our lives that we shared.
However, it is often my hope that when a subject views an image that I took of them that they may will then reflect on what they were experiencing or feeling at the time. And, perhaps, be inspired to 'write their own story' through the image (s) that I took of them.
Getting involved in the lives of others for the purpose of telling their story is something that does not fascinate nor interest me. I can't image having another person telling my story. Nor them telling mine!
Each time that I take on such projects it actually opens myself up for other people to enter into my life. Which is something that I am very cautious of. Equally as cautious as 'entering into the life of another person. I do not enter into the lives of other people. Nor do I want other people to invite themselves into my life.
With that having been said, if I take the time to document or capture a moment in time of your life that neither infers nor suggests that you have any claim to me nor do I have any claim to you. We simply crossed paths and that is that.
I say this because it has been my experience, as a black male, that when people see me they see me as their project and a means by which they can get something that has no connection to me. But, more accurately stated ... someone that they will henceforth oversee and police.
But that they will attempt to convince me that they are 'doing it for me' or for some cause to better or save the world.
So, each time that The Sergeant suggests that we should collaborate on projects pertaining to homeless veterans, I am reminded of the many different articles, issues and causes that I have reported on and supported, over the years, ... many which have no connection to me.
And, yet, as a 50 something black male, I can not tell you how many veterans, civil servants and government agents have 'come through me' over the past 35 to 40 years ... feeding through black men. Many who may now be veterans but were then in the miltary. Many who now may have retired from law enforcement, federal or state positions but who, then were civil servants.
And their relationship with me now is the same as it was then but, then ... I did not realize that they saw me and other black men ... just as their ... project!
When during my 29 June 2008 Sunday photo walk that I passed through Dupont Circle, the Sergeant asked that I photograph is memorial to Little Freddy, a sterling, that died in his hands after being attacked in the park by several black birds.
The Sergeant said that he had been taking care of Little Freddy since its birth ... almost two months ago. And that the injury in the palm of his right hand resulted when during the attack upon Little Freddy that he attempted to fight off the black birds.
Since his arrival to Dupont Circle last summer, The Sergeant has gone out of his way to establish a network of other homeless people, many who are veterans, that assist and look out for each other.
He refers to this network as 'family'.
I like that about him.