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ruddyroye ruddyroye

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Humanist/Activist/VII Photog  National Geographic Photog, TIME and New York Times Contributor. TIME Instagram Photographer of 2016. Fujifilm X-Photographer.


I recall hearing him speak about his life and how photography shaped how he lived, when he spoke as a guest speaker at LOOK3 — and his story made me want to join this Agency.
Photo by Christopher Morris / VII. President Barack Obama addresses the nation on his plans for dealing with the conflict in Afghanistan at Eisenhower Hall at the United States Military Academy at West Point in West Point, N.Y. on Dec. 1, 2009.
Each specially editioned 8”×10” photograph is hand-signed by the photographer. They are printed on Fuji Crystal Archive museum grade C-Type paper at New York City’s top photographic lab and are beautifully backed and sleeved in fully archival materials. Each print is embossed with the VII logo and comes with a certificate of authenticity printed on museum grade acid-free paper.
In addition, VII is offering a beautiful box set of all 28 images. Prints will be presented in a walnut slip-case, hand made by an artisan in Glasgow, Scotland, with the VII logo engraved on the front panel.
The cost of a box set is US$2000.
All prints will be sent using United States Postal Service via certified mail and will take between three to four weeks from the end of the sale to arrive.
Click on the above link in my profile for this image and many more.

November 16, 2017
Scooping up water with my Spoon

I sometimes attribute my attitudes towards social justice to growing up in the church. Actually I blame the church (as I laugh inside). I say blame because sometimes I wish I could hold my neck stiff and just walk pass. Do I regret stopping and engaging? — No but it feels like I am scooping out water out of the Potomac River with a spoon — teaspoon at that.
Just finished my presentation at National Geographic and was drawn to this December Issue. According to this story Jesus was a doer , “a social revolutionary,” not a complainer — so I am going to suck it up.
I am not complaining, maybe more frustrated that while I drive around Washington DC, while I head over to dinner, I feel like I am tripping over members of the homeless community.
When I engage some of this men and women I can feel their anger.
My Uber driver just told me that a two bedroom apartment on 13th and U, an intersection that had to be raided frequently when I live here in the nineties, is now going for $9000 a month. Back when I lived here my one bedroom was $350 a month.
I was almost late to my train tonight at Union Station tonight because there was a huge line of DC socialites and “Hill” folks lined up in front so I had to scurry around to the side door barely skating into home plate to make my train.
William was standing out front and no one seemed to hear him ask for a couple dollars to get something to eat.
Heading back to DeBlasio’s New York where the homeless crisis is at its zenith. New York numbers are the highest in the country but the conversation cannot get pass the squabble between the governor and the mayor.
Meanwhile construction in both cities are at an all time high. Million dollar properties are going up in DC and everywhere you look in New York it is a “Work in Progress .. Residential,” sign.
Only I don’t think these new homes going up are earmarked for any low income occupants or even the homeless population.
#whenlivingisaprotest #fujifilmgfx50s #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

November 13
Technically Speaking

Walking around New York with a new camera, trying to figure out how to use this beautiful beast. Currently fitted with the 63mm, the equivalent of 50mm on a 35mm camera, I am walking around trying to see in this new way. My preferred lens is 35mm for everything. Somewhere between 50mm and wide like a 28mm. Left to the mercy of this 63mm on this medium format camera, I have been trying to see differently — or the same but bigger.
In my world different camera same questions. How do these food carts make money? How do we see women? — and I mean all of us not just men. What kind of solutions are out there? Where do we put our faith? What keeps us up at nights? And what becomes of your friends when you haven’t heard from them in a while? I found answers to these questions as I poked my eyes into this bright viewfinder.
So much is happening I wonder if everyone feels as weighed and stressed as I do. Just a few days ago I watched as a man raced to the closing door of the 4 train, and we all know, we shouldn’t but we do, we stick a foot in the door and the sliding doors open again for the passenger. But this guy standing inside just looked, then turned back talking while the door closed. And I thought, yeah I am heading to Manhattan.
#whenlivingisaprotest #fujifilmgfx50s #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

November 3, 2017
Fire Walker

Close to two decades ago I got an assignment to photograph the people living on the defunct railroad in Jamaica. This is one of the most memorable image from that series. This image is from the first roll I ever shot on this trip, “Walking on Tiers.” I walked 121 miles documenting similar stories as I made my way from Montego Bay to Kingston.
It was from this series that I decided that this is the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life. In her eyes were the first spark of strength and motivation that would be the fire that lit my path of social justice practice. I have not looked away since.
So many people to thank. Kamoinge, Editors, Curators including my Photoville family, my mother Dorcas Roye, my family; Alyssa, Mosijah and Iyeoshujah, my sister Corrinne Roye, and Nieces, my relatives, my friends, my manager, the photographers before me, academics and historians, in short, I am from a long line of choices and chances and I just want to acknowledge that today. I am humbled, honoured and grateful to be a part of @viiphoto. Still walking.

Truly happy to call this Agency my new home. I have enjoyed getting to know these amazing men and women from this Agency, and I am looking forward to growing with this new family of fabulous social justice practitioners. @viiphoto
VII is excited to announce one of the most transformative evolutions in its history. The agency has added to its fold a diverse and polymathic group of photographers, filmmakers, and educators who will help steer the agency into the next period of its storied life.

Click on the link in our profile (vii.agency/new-members-2017) to meet the new members.

November 1 2017
Fractured triptych
When you get the call from School that his nose won’t stop bleeding - and it is in the middle of the day.
#iyeoshujahroye #fujifilmgfx50s #fujifilmx_us

October 19, 2017
Ode to Eugene - A Triptych
Does anyone know
what a half-cocked fist looks like?
Or better question,
how is that feeling born?
It is not out of freedom.
It is not victory held high.
It is not pride pushing upwards.
It is not even a sound
that comes out louder than a sigh.
It is hope and ambition
beaten back,
curled reluctantly
into the fetus position.
It is a cry pulled down
towards ones chest,
with fingers tightly
holding on to a washed up tradition.
It is in the eyes.
Yes his tired eyes
peering into the grave
for a welcomed rest,
while his spirit sags lower
with each politician’s
promised breath.
I have known Eugene for the better part of 14 years. He use to stride around Bedstuy with friends, laughing at he top of his voice and hanging out in front of the members only grown folks bars on Malcolm X blvd. I also saw him in front of the Rib Shack on Halsey streets. Back then he had a mouth full of teeth and his clothes hung on his body as high as his raucous laughter. He seemed happy then.
Today I asked him about his family.
“Some of them are in Georgia,” he stammered.
“My mother and father are dead.”
#whenlivingisaprotest #fujifilmgfx50s #fujifilmx_us #bedstuyportrait

October 16, 2017
How the other side lives.

From the Lower east side to the Upper east side. This past weekend I led a workshop through the Penumbra Foundation and was given an assignment by one of the photographers, Andrew Garn who told me that the assignment was given to him by Mary Ellen Mark. I was, to photograph the fabulous women of the Upper East side.
Long and short of my story is, one woman clutched her bag and briskly walked away, another put her life at risk by stepping out into the street to avoid me. Others curled up their nostrils in disgust and one literally ran down the street at break neck speed when I asked her for direction. I cannot begin to explain how this experience made me feel. “Cassandra” a young lady from the area told me that I was not asking the “right” women.
On the train ride home I recalled an episode on the radio where the discussion of slavery and the North was under scrutiny.
“Slaves were auctioned openly in the Market House of Philadelphia; in the shadow of Congregational churches in Rhode Island; in Boston taverns and warehouses; and weekly, sometimes daily, in Merchant's Coffee House of New York. John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin bought, sold, and owned black people. William Henry Seward, Lincoln's anti-slavery Secretary of State during the Civil War, born in 1801, grew up in Orange County, New York, in a slave-owning family and amid neighbors who owned slaves if they could afford them. The family of Abraham Lincoln himself, when he lived in Pennsylvania in colonial times, owned slaves.”
Now in no way am I implying that the folks on the Upper Eastside are descendants of slave owners, but we all forget that the North had a slave culture. It made me ask, what could it have been that generated so much contempt for my presence uptown. What I do know is, silence works on many axis. Ones silence could mean you don’t want to get involved and it could also mean the revealing of your true identity.
Nevertheless, it has sparked a challenge in me to head to the Upper Eastside and make images about this section of New York. These were my assignment images.
#uppereastsideimages #fujifilmgfx50s #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

October 13, 2017
A Lower Eastside Story
Everyday that I do this I learn a whole lot more about what it is that I do and how photography plays its part in my daily life.
If you are from New York, then you recently witnessed a mayoral debate where instead of seeing a conversation between electoral officials who were vying for a job to work for New Yorkers, we all witnessed a shouting match.
Here is what I discovered from the debate. I learnt that New York City is the City with the largest number of homeless peoples. I also learnt that Mayor DiBlasio has spent more money on homelessness than his predecessors, but has been unable to put a dent into the problem.
Recently his critics claimed that instead of fixing the problem, he was only managing it.
I met Sam and Scherrie while waiting for my boys to finish football training. They have been together for eight years living, surviving and sleeping on New York City streets. I first saw Sam through his writings. He often scribbles poetry and prose on benches. Something he does to “make himself feel human.”
For four hours I followed Sam around as he showed off the tags made between he and Scherrie, mostly in places where they have slept. As we visited one of these spaces, one of his friends got into an argument with me when I asked him if I could photograph the tag that he was sitting on.
“I have been working all day, and just as I got here to rest you come around asking me to get up to take a picture.”
I apologized profusely.
“It’s ok man, it’s not just you. Nobody sees us. It’s why you find us sleeping on floors all over the city. We are dirt to people. Can you imagine that I spent years in jail for sleeping in an abandoned building? I can’t even go home, and the shelters are not safe.”
#whenlivingisaprotest #fujifilmgfx50s #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

October 9, 2017
Battered and Bruised

Black and Blue
do not mix.
From the beginning,
they have stood betwixt
the sun and the moon,
the same way midnight
scorns the noon.
Black boy
and imprisoned without a say,
while old white hands
who meant to have him
slave his life away,
fashion coins from his blackness
and true equality is delayed.
Black and Blue mix only
on streets corners
and highways,
handcuffed on backstreets
and alleyways.
Black boy killed on a rooftop,
or a dark stairway
finds no justice,
even when the video
shows foul play.
Black boy thinking
that snitching and mixing
only makes
our blues darker.
Water it down,
make it lighter,
Again using old white hands
architects of a grey land
dip their greedy palms
in native Red,
mixing it with Black.
The clotted mixture
of a putrid lineage
leaks out
when black faces hit concrete
or get covered with dirt,
lies, or an assimilated heritage.
White and Blue,
strangle the starry dreams
of a Black boy
with their institutional stripes,
discolouring the perfect
blend of Black
on red, white and blue.
And every day we rise,
we see our blue LCD screens
with another casted image
of another Black boy’s dye.
#whenlivingisaprotest #ruddypoem

October 7, 2017
Walking with Giants

I don’t always stand with giants, but I have always hoped that my photographs were made in their likeness.
In actuality, most of my walking days are spent meandering round furrowed faces, laden with their insurmountable questions that seem to rise up like the new residential properties all around Brooklyn. The signs they carry are the same — “work in progress, broken spirit.”
I spent the last five days standing with a new group of artists at the Open Society Institute. The following day I took the train to New Jersey and spoke at the Zimmerli Art Museum where images by Bruce Davidson, Nina Berman, W Eugene Smith, August Sanders, André Kertész and Dorothea Lange all welcomed images I made in a exhibition entitled Subjective Objective. The resulting catalogued named “A Century of Social Photography” is riveting, if not carefully curated to show the dignity of resistance photography.
On Thursday I sat with Larry Fink, Gus Powell, and Joseph Michael Lopez to talk about our work through the eyes of Penumbra. Nothing sounds sweeter than hearing a photographer that you have looked up to, sit across from you and says the words, “Ruddy your images are beautiful,” - Larry Fink.
These images I make are a testimony to the trauma I carry, and to see them living among giants validates every shard, and broken bottle, every rusty nail, every mirror and every hot coal that I had to walk through to collect them. These are my giants.
#whenlivingisaprotest #fujifilmgfx50s #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

September 27, 2017
The Ten Photographs

It is not easy to focus on just one thing when there is so much going on. The air is saturated with news of war, protests and divisiveness, and yes, the common denominator is this president.
War seems to be on the horizon, and still the republican party stands by their president. It does not seem so easy to unite on a single idea surrounding anything. Are we kneeling, locking hands, staying in the dugout, standing alone on the field, or keeping quiet. How powerful would it have looked if everyone, players and owners took a knee. But capitalism and the dollar are still king.
These are my thoughts as I walk around New York. It is a stark difference from listening to young Black men and young Black women decide on change on Brown street on Morehouse campus. There, ideas on the relevance of the words “nigga and bitch” in everyday conversations were refreshing if not unprecedented.
I am walking around looking for ten images. Ten images that can connect. Challenging myself to only take one image per day and try to have it relate to the previous image from the day before. I think it’s my attempt at finding the unifying substances in our everyday lives.
#fujifilm100f #fujifilm_us @fujifilmx_us

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