Fresh Coons, 1976, from the "Harlem U.S.A." series

Dawoud Bey (b. 1953) Fresh Coons, 1976, from the "Harlem U.S.A." series, 1976 Silver print 5 1/5 × 8 1/2 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the artist 1979.1.17

"I began photographing in the streets of Harlem in 1975. At first these visits were just weekly excursions. On those occasions much of what I did was not photographing, but spending time walking the streets, reacquainting myself with the neighborhood that I wanted to again become a part of, seeing up close the people and the neighborhood I had glimpsed from the car window years before as a child. As I got to know the shopkeepers and others in the neighborhood, I became a permanent fixture at the public events taking place in the community, such as block parties, tent revival meetings, and anyplace else where people gathered. The relationships and exchanges that I had with some of these people are experiences I will never forget. It is in those relationships and the lives of the people that these pictures recall that the deeper meaning of these photographs can be found."

—Dawoud Bey, 1979