The idea of "control" is an illusion when attempting to create a "portrait" of another being. For me, there is the anticipation of a moment that will be unexpected, perhaps very dramatic, or a mood of something entirely else, for both subject and photographer. I like Carl Phillips' sensibility (he applies it to poetry), "…what I'm always after. Nothing gutless, and nothing without its ability to surprise."
When he found out his wife was unfaithful, Hector Castillo told his son to get in the car because they were going fishing. It was after midnight but this was nothing unusual. The Rickenbacker Bridge suspended across Biscayne Bay was full of night fishermen leaning on the railings, catching up on gossip over beer and fishing lines, avoiding going home to their wives. Except Hector didn’t bring any fishing gear with him.
He was acting like he didn’t hear me but I knew he did. Just walked away as soon as they called his train. Black backpack all high on his shoulders. Bald head glistening in the natural light that made its way into the station through its heavy, bullet-proof windows. They all do that. Walk away. All day long, they turn their faces up, perplexed at the old woman sitting on the splintered wood benches in the El station.
Clarice Ramkissoon’s bedroom was a crime scene and her granddaughter Savita now stood in the middle of it, guilty as sin and six days sober. The body had been removed, the evidence hidden. An hour ago, the walls had been wiped down with vinegar and the floors scrubbed clean with rose water. All that remained of Clarice’s death was a missing vial of Roxanol.
I grew up in the farm labor camps of Monterey County in California, picking fruits and vegetables along with my parents and eleven brothers and sisters. Neither parent was able to attend school growing up, and we relied on each other to survive the hardships of being poor and working in the fields.
My art and social activism stems from my strong conviction that art is needed to make social change a possibility, to help heal the injustice’s faced by people of color around the world. I have the historical experience of the Civil Rights Movement and the Chicano, Black Power Movement, Native American and Anti- War Movements of the 1960s and 70s for my inspiration.
I called her Bonnie because she was pretty and gentle and compliant. Her eyes were big, brown shoe buttons fringed with sable lashes and they could make your mouth water. She was small in stature and perfectly, delightfully well-formed with Woolfolk's brand on her buttock that looked like a mayapple.
She became my Bonnie and she followed me and did my bidding. Was she free? There wasn’t that much free for colored women. She was free to starve like she was when I found her.