Bob the Photographer

BobI met Bob at the Schomburg in Harlem. He was photographing for an event. I was looking for the restroom. The second time I passed him, he said to me, “You look just like your mom”.

Really? And who is my mom?

What you mean, who is your mom?

You know my mom?

Yes, doesn’t she lead the student organization over at the-

No. 

I didn’t want to tell him my mom was indeed in heaven. He looked at me blankly.

Aren’t you from Eritrea?

No. I get that all the time. But I’m not. 

You’re not the high school student whose mom leads the organization for high school students?

No, as a matter of fact, I’ve been out of high school for over 15 years.

Wow! You look just like her daughter!

He couldn’t stop looking at me. I thought the entire situation was kinda funny. When I told my friend, Kieara what happened, she responded, sometimes, when you have moments like that, it’s just to remind you about your mom and how often she would think of you. 

Which I would love to always remember. I told her about the time the little boy in preschool, whom I never saw before, said to me.

Wow! You look just like your mom!

Really, little boy?

Yes.

And where is my mom?

You look just like her!

He never told me where my mom was. He just kept telling me I looked like her.

Harry Belafonte

 

Over the weekend when I went to the Schomberg Center to view 100 Moments, I ran into American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist  Harry Balafonte!!

I felt really good because I was looking at Gordon Parks pictures wishing I could have met Gordon Parks when all of sudden I looked up and saw Mr. Belafonte! It was so random and even though they are two different people and are recognized for different achievements, It feels good meeting a celebrity that you actually can connect with.

100 Moments

 

This year, if he was still alive, Gordon Parks would have turned 100 years old.

I went to Harlem, 135th Street, and visited the  Schomburg Center to view the Gordon Parks photo exhibition titled, 100 Moments. Each moment I spent in the center was inspiring.

I think the most encouraging part for me was listening to the short documentary of Parks life. I took some notes on his views of photography and his work. Listening to the video made me understand why I love his work: I find myself, he said, speaking for poor people who can’t speak for themselves…and in that way I speak for myself.  He continued, I am an objective reporter with a subjective heart. My emotions, he said, get in the way but I don’t allow them to dominate.

When I was in High School, I wanted to meet him but never got the chance as he died the year I graduated.

The photo I enjoyed the most is titled: Music: That Lordly Power 1993. Maybe it spoke to how I was feeling right then. I know it’s an image I am not going to forget.

Kudos to Deborah Willis who put together a brilliant show.