The 23rd annual “Tribute to Our Ancestors of the Middle Passage” was held by the African-American community of New York City on Saturday, June 9, 2012 on Coney Island, Brooklyn.
The event commemorated the millions of Africans who died during the Middle Passage – the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to America on slave ships.
Photographing is my way to connect with the world. I need to feel that the world is part of me - with all its beauty and ugliness, happiness and misery, births and deaths. This is my way to feel that I am alive, a method to prove my own existence, hence the existence of the world.
I photograph because I believe that pictures influence our attitudes, stop wars and affect social change.
I want to tell a story, make others see what I see and maybe make a difference. But first of all I photograph for myself. Through happiness and suffering of people I photograph, my own joy and grief, locked deep inside me, is being released.
In my best moments as a photographer I feel as though a picture occurs on its own, without requiring my participation at all. At once something comes - a sudden shudder - and the button is clicked, the shot is taken. It happens in a Zen-like way, uniting the perception and the surrounding world. That very moment is an act of an archer hitting the the bull’s-eye - unconscious, ''empty and rid of the self''.
The camera is not being my tool, rather something more akin to a third eye. Photography is my time to keep an eye out, to wait, and to inhale slowly, waiting for the split second when the world suddenly reveals itself.
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