PP PH14 /
accompanied yet alone
none to accept
dead of night
baptism by fire
I wasn't feeling well and decided to go on a mini photo excursion down Broad Street for some fresh air. Working out and taking photos is the best way to reset the emotions for me. Merry Christmas
It was Sunday and I had just returned from a four hour drive from Charlotte, NC. I hate driving, and I get tired when I drive alone for long distances. An hour into that drive I was already making plans for my pillow and mattress. Well, my girlfriend was with me but she wasn’t feeling well because of Mother Nature and migraines. Sleep was the only remedy she wanted, so I drove back to Richmond alone, but with company.
[3hr 51 minutes later] We had arrived at my girlfriend’s apartment. It was time to get some rest, and though still tired from that long drive back, the thought of sleep quickly disappeared when I noticed a herd of humans gathered about a block and a half away. "Why the fuck are there so many people on this side of town?" I asked. The sun was high in the sky and I still had film left, so I had to go see what was bringing all these people across the 14th Street Bridge.
I never know when events are happening in this city until a day or two before (if I'm lucky) or like on this occasion, the day of. On this day, it was the Manchester Street Art Festival that was bringing everyone together. There were vendors selling Richmond inspired merch and other knick-knacks, musical performances in cleared-out parking lots, and multiple murals being painted on the walls of factories and local businesses. All of which came from the talent of local Richmond artist.
I roamed around to different areas, neglecting the vendors, but admiring the work that was being done by the muralist. I stopped and talked to a few artists who were working and asked about what they were painting. The first crew I came across was working on a mural of the Chesterfield Railroad. The painter told me the history of the mural and how the railroad was once powered by a mule-and-gravity (not sure why this is punctuated that way unless it is a valid/proper phrase. I think it should read "by a mule and by gravity" but if you know something that I do not know, carry on). The mule would pull the train uphill and let gravity drive the train downhill. He said the railroad stretched from here in Manchester to Chesterfield, hauling coal and other goods between towns. You’ll learn a thing or two if you stop and talk to a stranger.
I continued on down the road and saw another muralist at work. He didn’t want to be bothered and his short answers were the telling force. However, I did get the answer as to why he was painting this mural. He said it was a picture of his girlfriend, or was it friend... I can't recall which one he said. He pulled her picture out of his wallet to show it to me and then went back to painting.
After visiting every mural I could find, I made my way back home. I had a date with my pillow and mattress that I wasn’t going to miss.
From the moment I looked down into my viewfinder and noticed Alyssa striking poses without any direction, I knew this shoot was going to be an effortless session. This was my first time shooting with Alyssa and surely will not be the last.
Went to the VMFA (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts) and bumped into some “flaggers” outside of the museum who were raising awareness for the Confederate Veterans camp. I spoke with one of the flaggers who gave me the history of the Veterans camp and the movement behind what they were doing. I really didn't understand their cause or the outcome they were expecting. To be frank, i didn't give a shit. I let them him finish the story and exited the conversation. But before I left I had to take a few portraits.
It has been a few months since I’ve made updates here. I’ve been semi-busy with a few other projects that will soon be presented to you. While I prepare for the next project I'll leave you with a few portraits I captured at Broccoli City back in April. Shot with my Yashica 124G and a pocket full of Ektar 100 film.
Nine times out of ten, I go walking the streets with no planned destination. I just pick a direction and follow my intuition. On this day, my intuition led me to a park tucked away somewhere in China Town.
I wandered through the park, which was filled with people gambling on card games and holding conversations in another language. Did I just walk into an outdoor casino? I didn’t understand the language, the games that were being played, or why the majority of the players were senior citizens. I couldn’t comprehend a damn thing that was going on, but I loved being in this environment! It seemed like everyone was having a good time at this outdoor casino, even the ones that were losing money.
When walking the streets of New York, there is always something going on- be it the musicians looking for donations or the community block party happening right off the Kusciuszko stop. Its impossible to be everywhere at once, so pick a direction and let your intuition do the rest.
The man playing the trumpet was the intro track for this adventure. His songs echoed through the streets of downtown Richmond on this gloomy Saturday. I didn't understand why he was playing the trumpet and wearing a sign that read "Jesus First | Awake America". But When you live in America you can do whatever the fuck you want, so why not? Play on trumpet man.
May 8th /
... You didnt miss anything. I was just jogging around the neighborhood
A slow breeze, laden with humidity and static, moved against our skin. It cast the smoke from our cigarettes into twisting shapes that lingered underneath the streetlamp
We were close enough, perched there on the back of my car, that his t-shirt brushed against my bare arm. We didn’t care about personal space. Nor did we care for the sanctity of 4 AM: our voices, his more than mine, boldly challenged the still darkness and the night only offered the weak hum of the streetlamp in response.
I could feel summer. It welled up inside my belly and poured out of me in words and laughter and smoke. It stilled the hands of time, letting eternities unfold between our words. We were infinite.
Words by Natasha Sligh