Back on the Block - Andy & Tata
In 1996 I moved from Miami, Florida to Brooklyn, New York to begin pursuing my Master in Photography at N.Y.U. The education that i got came not from the lecture hall but from the streets in my new neighborhood. During the seven years that I lived on the border of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant I photographed, wrote about and made video recordings of the families on my block. The reporting resulted in a book and web publication entitled Money Power Respect: Pictures of My Neighborhood. In 2002 i bought a house less than a mile away from where the pictures where made, I began other projects but continued to photograph and film the families in Money Power Respect. The years that followed Money Power Respect publication have been critical in the lives of children on the brink of adulthood and for parents who are always dangerously close to the edge.
I now feel that Money Power Respect served only to introduce my neighbors to the larger world and that the real story somehow began after the publication of the book was well underway. I felt a responsibility to document the results of the stories I began to tell in the book and the web has made possible the idea that publications no longer need to be finite. The result of continuing to record the stories over the last four years has been edited into a series of mini movies called Back on The Block.
1996 - 2002
Eight-year-old Andy, Tata's son, was already a legend on Dodworth Street.
Tata traded a decade of freedom to fight with her husband during the final days of his battle with liver cancer.
Three months after Ange's death, Tata was arrested for not completing her program.
2005 - 2007
At 20 years old, the resiliency that Andy has mustered after repeated tragedy is his education.
2007 - 2010
Some people have a "gap year" - I’m having a "gap life" - says Andy
If my childhood was one of repression, Andy's was an explosion.
Andy turns the camera on Brenda