I Am Englewood Series
Pretty in Pink
I shot this picture while on one of my earlier Englewood outings. I spotted this family sitting outside on the porch enjoying what was a very nice early summer’s afternoon. This family caught my eye. Something about them seemed gracious but unintentional. I approached with my camera and said "Could I take a picture of..." but before I even finished asking, a little girl about 5 years old taps me on my elbow. She says “my dress is pretty, I am pretty.” I say “Yes, you are pretty and your dress is very pretty.” She hops away and the women outside say it’s ok to take the picture. The family gathers on the porch, and I noticed that there were several generations represented in this one shot - from teenagers to grandmothers. But one stood out. This inquisitive little girl who was pretty and wanted me to know her dress was pretty. She is not even looking at the camera. She is looking at her dress. That’s Pretty in Pink.
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Guarding the Flock
While visiting Copernicus elementary on 60th and Throop, I took a picture of a group of children outside on the playground. The children were being lined up outside for the teachers to escort them into the building for the first day of school. Parents, teachers, and security guards gathered watching organizing children as they prepared for entrance into the building. They exchanged pleasantries with each other as some had not seen others since school let out nearly 3 months prior. This picture captures that moment.
A Human Highlight Reel
I was invited to attend “So Fresh Saturdays” hosted by R.A.G.E. (Resident Association of Greater Englewood). While there, I began taking pictures of everything. One scene that developed that was really cool was a tumbling group. They set-up their matts and trampolines and began doing an acrobatic routine. It was amazing. Before their routine got underway, there was this kid with braids, no more than 12, who began practicing for the upcoming show. He was so amazing that I had to capture him practicing. He was his own Human Highlight Reel.
A Farmer's Market
After leaving the Black Harvest Festival viewing at the Hiram Kelly library, I came across this sign. Looking at this bright red sign sparked my interest, so I pulled my car over and did some investigating. Every Saturday in an empty lot with park benches between 62nd and 63rd& Normal there is a Farmers Market in the summer months. They provide locally grown fruits and vegetables grown from nearby gardens to the public along with other tasty treats and simple eats. A great place to enjoy the local atmosphere.
A Show of Gratitude
While at the Farmers Market, I met many people. Two of the people that stood out were this man in overalls and an elderly woman with a small cart. The man was a preacher and the president of a local not for profit agency that seeks to beautify Englewood. The woman was a neighbor of his who had taken it upon herself to personally mow vacant lots in several blocks around her home. The man, who had known her for so long, offered her food from the Farmers Market free of charge. This Show of Gratitude for her services to the community was an amazing shot.
I happened to come upon a community meeting at St. John church on 62nd and Throop. Throop is the block where I resided while living in Englewood, so I was familiar with this church. The meeting was organized by R.A.G.E. (Residents Association of Greater Englewood) to highlight a bevy of programs and activities going on in the neighborhood. I viewed the room and instantly starting taking pictures. There were a plethora of good pictures being framed before my eyes. One that stood out was the intense look the lead pastor gave to the meeting organizers. I think he was trying to say “We have an Understanding”.
I Am America
While hanging around friends and family on a Fourth of July evening, I came across a child. This child was a family member of a friend who I had grown up with. This child, dressed in his patriotic red, white, and blue shirt, held a firework in his hand. He ran around the backyard having fun like children do on the fourth of July. As I brought my camera out, he spread his hands wide as to say “Here I am, bright in my Red, White, and Blue.” It was a fitting shot on the nation’s birthday.
The More Things Change
I was invited to attend a non for profit event titled “Barbershop in the Library.” This event is monthly, and it provides a safe place for children to speak openly about anything going on in their lives. It is a group counseling session that is infused with free barber services. While children come to be apart of a discussion, they can also get a haircut and leave feeling good mentally and physically. This was the setting of the photo I took which was of a child who had attended one of the monthly meetings. His look was so curious. The feeling that his look invoked sent me back in time to something I had seen in a history book or in a museum. The more we change as time goes on, the more things stay the same.
Daddy Who's That?
I was driving through Englewood one bright, sunny afternoon. While driving, I see a man walking his daughter down the street. He is talking to her as they walk, and I instantly pull over. I noticed his attire and hair cut were both clean. His daughter however was the star. Innocent and cute, she shied away due to an individual of unknown origin approaching her. She looked to him and asked “Daddy Who’s That.” As I gazed at them both I could not help being drawn to what appeared to be a loving relationship between a father and his child. This is what I captured.
Prosperity Moving Forward
I decided to visit the old Copernicus (name has recently been changed) elementary school on 60th and Throop. I used to live down the street from it. It was the first day of school for Chicago public schools students. I wanted to capture the happiness of the children returning from their summer break. I came across a man with his son. I approached him and asked could I take a picture of them; he nodded his head yes and continued walking his son into the schoolyard. I highlighted the GREEN in the back pack because it stood out to me. Green is a color that is associated with prosperity and growth. This was significant especially due to the fact that the father was taking his son to school. School is a place in which students learn, grow, and gather tools that they will need to be prosperous in various aspects of their lives.
We Did It
Ogden Park is the currently hosting location of the Englewood 5k race. This race is the first ever closed course 5k race on the South Side of Chicago. It was organized by Forever Fitnessfounder Andrea NaTay. By it being the first 5k race on the South Side of the city and also in Englewood, I was naturally drawn to this. There were people from all over. But when the race is over, everyone breaks out into a communal sharing of love. This picture was of longtime family friends. Their picture, which captures an outpouring of love for one another, is a representation of several warm exchanges that I witnessed that day.
A Barbershop Moment
Back at the “Barbershop in a Library” event at the West Englewood library, I was fortunate to document this setting. A group counseling session blended with free barber services provided by the West Englewood staff and members from Longevity Barber Lounge on 68thand Ashland. Owner of Longevity (K.C.) is shown in a classic barbershop moment with a member of the community. This timeless shot is highlighted more by the distinct red tie and buttoned up shirt that could mirror any time period throughout American history,
Being a resident of Englewood is a privilege. While growing up, you identify certain landmarks with experiences of your life. One of the images ingrained in my head for the longest of times was the street sign “Throop.” This ismy street; This is where it began for me.