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When I arrived at Kennedy airport, I felt like one of the
millions of immigrants in one of Lewis Hine's photographs. Even though
I was a citizen, spoke the same language, and arrived by plane, from San
Francisco, I was still lost, confused, and out of place.
I was working three days a week as an intern at ICP Midtown with the Curator
Miles Barth in order to pay for darkroom rental. Part of my internship
was spent organizing six thousand negatives of Weegee's work for the book
Weegee's World and not a single godamn credit anywhere in the book. Fuck
My only nourishment was the many hours I was allowed to spend in the ICP
archives, looking at the original photographs of Larry Clark's Tulsa,
or Shelby Lee Adam's 16 x 20 prints of the people of the Appalachian Mountains,
or Robert Capa's work.
Broke, but not quite destitute, I was also working at the Sheraton on
52nd St. and Avenue of the Americas, as a part-time weekend night manager
at their fitness center. I worked two twelve-hour graveyard shifts —
Saturday night to Sunday morning, and again Sunday night to Monday morning.
I worked a total of 24 hours in two days making $10.00 an hour. They also
provided their employees with meals, so I went there often, including
my days off.
During the endless walks to ICP to Midtown and Uptown, I often thought
how pathetic I was, how miserable I was, and how alone I was. Pissed off
and angry, these photos represent my state of mind then.
As I walked from my shared studio apartment, on West 3rd street between
Mercer and Thompson Streets to uptown where I was working — which
took fifty-two minutes — I carried my Leica m6 in my hand taking
photos, allowing the camera to expose for the light as I made my guesses,
and sometimes not looking through the viewfinder, but always looking.