My concept found its genesis in the notion of the “absence” of the Harlem streets. I was interested in the absent bodies within a landscape, the uncanny presence in the memory of the streets. My project focused on documenting sites where people have laid down and died as a result of accident, injury, or petty crime by combing through homicide police reports both recent and historical. My photo documentation sought to explore the questions of space absorbing violence, as well as the dying, of how the act might resonate within the environment or not, of memory and knowledge inflecting our ways of seeing space. It also explores my own interest in the representation of the body and how to codify it simply without it, via the invisible man.
“Then Girl Ran One Block to Her Apt. Building, 1590 Madison Avenue,” represents the death of a young girl who was caught in the crossfire of a shooting between two men.
A friend told me that while living in New York he often went to the upper parts of Central Park to spot birds. He has seen the most spectacular birds in this particular area. Now, I can’t remember what kind they were, but they sounded exotic to me. With this in mind, I started to plan for my postcard photo. Some weeks before arriving in New York, I thought about a bird sitting down in front of my camera. I focused on this every day for a few seconds. I finally came to the right spot and I began moving around slowly, thinking about the bird. Suddenly, a bright red bird flew over my head and landed on a tree. It sat there and let me come close, then I took three photos and it flew off again.
Minton's Playhouse opened in 1938 on the ground floor of the Cecil Hotel on 118th Street. Over the next decade it flourished as a late night jam session spot for young musicians, an incubator allowing a vast amount of experimentation to occur. If modern jazz had a place associated with its birth, it was Minton's.
Interested as I am in examining, locating and commemorating collective cultural experiences in historic moments of creative transition, particularly as related to modernism, a visit to Minton’s seemed appropriate for this project. As suggested by the title and the image itself, One Note at Minton’s emphasizes the desire for a kind of “reductive mythology.”