ruddyroye ruddyroye

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

March 17, 2017
Abandoned -- An Unedited Poem
Homage to Derek Walcott
Started photographing with my sons again this week and gave them their first assignment entitled "Abandoned." Interesting when you realize what you left when you started to learn the craft.

The time has come
words no longer respond to the pen,
age is neither shadow
nor fear,
or a new smell,
or the melted smiles that flows out as tears.
At that moment,
when life stops,
when the everlasting sound
that leaves our lips,
is the echo of the “tock”
and the grey hovering realization
that this face
will no longer stare back
is the tick
trying to unhitch its fangs
from the neck and names
of this world,
we stare back at the face
of the broken clock.
To wade across the river
bearing nothing,
with only our tired feet
to take us around the dreamy bend,
at the end,
there is no light that shines
only our rattling voices
echoing in our throats
before losing its roots.
#brooklynportrait #brooklynphotography #bedstuyportrait #fujifilmx100f #fujix100f #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

March 11, 2017

Brooklyn speaks is a series where every now and then I drive around and read the writings on the wall. It is a series where I look for the faces that I use to see posted on street corners and I go to see how much certain sections have changed.
I remember the first time I saw the garage door, it was freshly painted, some ten or so years ago. These days whenever I pass I can see time stripping the colour from it.
Curtis told me today that he had a stroke four years ago and since then he has been picking up bottles to make ends meet. He use to live on Halsey, the same block that I lived on a decade ago.
I am also surprised by how much redevelopment is taking place in Brooklyn, still the number of homeless and destitute continue to increase. Listening to NPR recently one of the guys being interviewed questioned why is it that most of the development take place in neighbourhoods that are vulnerable -- like areas where black and brown people live.
Steve was standing in 26 degree weather shivering. He was waiting for his neighbour to be done with selling her wares so he could help her pack it up. A Jamaican immigrant himself, Steve has lived in Bedstuy for 17 years.
"I just feel that they are forcing us out. Who can afford these rents. Black people can't afford to buy a brownstone for 1.something million dollars," he said.
I can't help but see the changes. They are everywhere. New faces, new words, new graffitis.
#brooklynportraits #brooklynphotography #fujifilmx100f #fujix100f #fujifilm_xseries @fujifilmx_us

March 8, 2017
For Whom do you Protest?

I truly wanted to find some profound way to commemorate Women's Day today. I thought about heading to Columbus Circle and photographing the protest there. But then life took over and I had to run some errands here in Brooklyn.
On my way on Patchen Avenue, I noticed a man pushing a woman in her wheelchair. He helped her up out of the crosswalk and onto the sidewalk; there she sat quietly, she did not move.
I walked up to her and asked if she was ok. She said she just needed to catch her breath. I asked her if she was in a shelter or heading to one, and she responded with such contempt. "All they do there is suck each other. I do not want to be raped."
"So how long have you been on the street?" I asked.
"Four years," she answered.
It was then I noticed the bottle of gin or vodka clasped tightly inside the same hands that were adorned with hospital bracelets. I started to snap images.
First her hands, then as I moved backwards to recompose, she raised the bottle to her lips with lightening quickness. It was as if she felt threatened by my camera. She consumed the contents of the bottle as if she wanted to bury the last statement she made, the exhausting morning, last night tribulations on the street, or her troubled life.
She swallowed the entire bottle in one gulp.
I did not even have time to respond. I lifted the camera halfway and squeezed.
I sat in my car after, listening to NPR and their coverage of Women's Day. The story was about feminism. It was there I heard the phrase, "Feminism does not speak for all women." -- and those words made me think.
Huge protests happening all over the world today, but who speaks for Barbara Vaughan.
#whenlivingisaprotest #brooklynportrait #brooklynphotography #fujifilmx100f #fujix100f #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

March 6, 2017
Happy Birthday Son

All I want is for him to be happy. Sometimes parents and I sit and bemoan the impending teenage years with dread. But I always tell them that if you give your child the tools he need he will make a different decision. I also believe that the people you surround yourself with shape your future. Today my first born is 12 years old peering into 16. Without my father, I am his doorkeeper and so I look away from the past and towards him with a gentle smile.

Marley Drakes age 11
Will be 12 on December 30.
" Mosijah is a really talented soccer player.
He has a passion for the game and he never stops trying. I wish for him to have a really blessed day and a happy life. In twenty years he is going to be an amazing soccer player.

Guillermo Friedman
Age 11
Will be 12 on February 14
He is a really good soccer player. He is very kind and he is very flexible. He is not easily bothered. He will probably, maybe, become a soccer coach or a retired soccer player in twenty years.

Coco Sam Barrett
Age 11
Will be 12 October 24
"He loves soccer. He is really nice, he sits at my table and he is ok at math and I mean ok. He is my science partner and he is easy to work with.
I think he will make an amazing professional soccer player or a professional photographer
He could be a comedian if he wanted to."
#brooklynportrait #brooklynphotography #fujifilmxpro2 #fujixpro2 #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us #mosijahroye @mosi21savage

March 4, 2017
Arctically Speaking

Had to walk away from a very steamy or cold conversation on @hikari.creative. There were curious sounds outside, a kind of wintry tune, like sweeping tumbleweeds, neighbours desperate calls to their relatives to throw down the key, and the raking branches against the icy window.
I tried pulling the comforter over my already padded body, but decided to grab my camera and go do battle with the 26 degree weather with its wind chill around 15 mph.
I first met sixty one year old Charlie walking away from a building on Marcus Garvey to go find something to eat. He was painting and had just finished the first coat.
"Twenty six degrees is nothing. Especially when you are working for yourself. You have to eat," he said.
64 year old Al left the shelter at Bedford and Atlantic because he needed to make some extra money for food.
At the corner of New York and Pacific where he stood, the New York resident shuffled from car to car to ask commuters for help. Ten years ago a stroke made it impossible for him to use his left hand.
A block up the road Andrew and a bunch of his friends sat outside or stood waiting for someone to pass by and offer them work.
"We are all out here looking for work," they said almost in unison.
Whether it was passing a SVA photography, art and film student being interviewed on the streets, guys hanging out at a brooklyn boutique or a woman making her way home, the cold air seemed to shape their expressions. It was a grim, tight plaster like mask. The cold is supposed to drop down to 14 degrees and I quickly made my way home.
#brooklynportrait #brooklynphotography #bedstuyportrait #fujifilmxpro2 #fujixpro2 #fujifilmx100f #fujix100f #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

March 3, 2017
Ruddy Roye's Guide

For years I have been fascinated by William Eggleston's "Guide" -- for no other reason than his images were shot with seemingly the idea of breaking rules.
I have always wanted to just walk around Bedstuy breaking rules with photography, but not doing it only to break rules; I wanted the rest of the world to see Brooklyn and its people before it changed.
Recently I have been stirring a topic in my head with frequent conversations with members of academia. Today I was hit with the word "space" and what it means in the lexicon of photography.
"Spaces are racialized.
Chinatown is still Chinese without people in it. A bodega has a Puerto Rican flag and a picture of a saint on the wall. A black neighborhood will always have a hair store and a church somewhere. It's not just black people that make it a black neighborhood.
But we also craft our identities around what we aren't. The black kid from Brooklyn knows what it means to be black because he ends up in Park Slope by accident. So he crafts an image of that space in his mind as white," said Dr. Shana Russell, PhD. Professor of Black Studies.
This is my newest challenge. To photograph objects and spaces, to see if they define race.
#spaces #guide #race #brooklynportrait #brooklynphotography #bedstuyportrait #fujix100f #fujifilmx100f #fujixpro2 #fujifilmxpro2 #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

February 25, 2017

Brooklyn is gone, or you could say Brooklyn is in flux.
Every spring or as soon as the Sun emerges from behind the frosty months, I begin to see the changes that happened when everyone was inside hiding from the cold.
Today was just a walk around. I kinda left Bedstuy and walked towards Bushwick. There has been this push to replace the Hispanic community that has not gone unchallenged. Families that have been in the area for over 40 years are saying that the building that they know as home is being sold from under them -- sometimes without a notice.
Still no one has been able to answer the question, where do the people go when they are replaced?
#brooklynphotography #brooklynportrait #fujifilmx100f #fujix100f #fujifilmxpro2 #fujixpro2 #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us #myfujifilm

February 24, 2017
The Laundromat
Today was laundromat day, and there was no going around it. It had to be done. Truth is, it is not my favourite place to go so, while I was there I decided to challenge myself and make images.
I don't know if all laundromats have the same personality or characteristics, but the ones in Brooklyn have some things in common. Like the bathrooms are always out of order. The wait time feels like the prophecy of the second coming, and folks are always coming in there to sell something. Add on top of that, there is always an argument over empty clothes baskets, because there are never enough.
So while I shuffled in between loads I again thought about putting Instagram carousel through another cycle.
#adayinthelife #fujifilmx100f #fujix100f #fujifilmx_us #brooklynportrait #brooklynphotography @fujifilmx_us

February 23, 2017
About to try out this new feature by Instagram. I have been begging Andrew @banjowen for years and finally it is here so ima jump on it.
Today I took it for a spin.
My everyday drive around Bedstuy seems to always take the form of an assessment.
Like what's new, whose face is missing, what building got sold, where are the new constructions happening, or what's the new hang out spot?
It is almost impossible to walk in Brooklyn these days and not be confronted by the green boards covering impending construction sites. Today while driving by Van Buren and Tompkins, I happened to stop Timothy to ask him about walking on his block and seeing all the changes in his neighbourhood.
"I haven't been here long, just about two years, but I have seen so much change in just those two years."
But driving around I can see the changes. Blocks with half their faces blanketed with the familiar green mask, re-emerge as luxury condos. "OGs" hang out and catch up about the names that no longer echo in their gravelly throats.
Sixty-six year old Pope came out dapper to meet with friends before heading to Macy's.
Brooklyn United Music and Arts boys took on Fulton street today with their drum line while members of the new Bedstuy erect repurposed museum pieces on the sidewalks to change the face of the neighborhood.
#brooklynportrait #brooklynphotography #fujifilmxpro2 #fujixpro2 #fujix100f #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us #myfujifilm

February 20, 2017
The Voice in Utah

I truly don't know how to put words to this picture.
This photo was shot on day 1 of a 3 day assignment. I have always said that I wanted to start a series entitled #frommywindow .
I should have known that it was going to be a very different kind of trip, when I was the only black person on the huge airbus. The plane was filled with families and other folks heading to the slopes or home.
Walking in the whole airport I saw one other black guy in the distance, his heading rocking from side to side, like mine, maybe also looking for the other black person in the room,or in this instance, the airport.
The assignment was wonderful.
I was surrounded by difference, and though I have to admit I kept looking for me the whole time, it was not hard to find the familiar.
On the final day when I was about to head up into a helicopter, a man of the Caucasian persuasion walked over to me and said,
"You look as scared as I would be. I am also afraid of heights but I wish you well on your shoot."
I went up into the air scared as hell with his words as comfort and a harness as my security.
When the helicopter shoot was over, he was there again to say,
"I prayed for you the whole time you were up there, just to make sure you were safe and that you were able to photograph what you needed."
Did I mention he wasn't black? And that to me is how I have been changing over the past four years. At times the world might offer us cloudy skies, grey days and a city locked by mountains on all sides, however if we look hard enough there will be a kind voice seeking to comfort us, if we stay open.
#utahportraits #fujifilmxpro2 #fujixpro2 #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

February 16, 2017
Fifth Avenue Musings

A voice calls in the market.
"Fresh skin,
Coal skin
Eggplant skin
Cacao skin
Yellow yam skin
Cassava skin
Da-shene skin.
Hands oiling down black skin
washing away our history
and inventing a new beginning.
They peeled back our dreads
and cut our foreskin,
blaming or status
on the smell of our sin
all so that we
could be wrapped
in their black and white
swaddling like a penguin.
A voice calls out in the market
to sell their produce;
because the stone
that the builder refuse
stands stone cold,
in their market--
like a stock -- silent.
Black skin,
sells his chagrin,
sometimes without complaining.
flows within,
his blood
reminding him
all the way
to his first kin
that this "good job"
is not by luck,
it's because he is still
their product.
#poem #ruddypoem #fujifilmxpro2 #fujixpro2 #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

February 13, 2017
Being Open

Marvin is a thinker.
Whenever we meet at Kafe Louverture on Halsey street, he is always filled with conversation. His mind wobbling like a sack filled with ideas and questions just waiting to be set free.
"Ruddy I know this might offend you but I need to ask," he said as I sat down.
"What makes a black person lose his ambition and not try to reclaim it?" That's the clean version of how he asked me.
But before we could delve deeply into the answer, he asked again
"Did you hear Adele's acceptance speech last night, did you think it was appropriate or patronizing?"
So we went looking for the speech online and all the people in the coffee house huddled over the small android screen listening.
"It sounds fine to me," someone said.
"Will we ever get rid of racism. How can I trust that it is what white folks really want?" He belted out another question, and the discussion went further into slavery, Jim Crow, the Founding Fathers and the banking system.
As I sat by and watched the conversation rising up like "Old Glory," I had to wonder if all this would have been happening if Trump was not the president.
#brooklynportrait #brooklynphotography #fujixpro2 #fujifilmxpro2 #fujifilmx_us @fujifilmx_us

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