I had been in Harlem for a few hours and just hadn’t found anything to shoot. I finally gave up and decided to head back to Soho. After walking a few blocks down Madison Ave ,around 120th street, I see this gentleman – I literally stop in my tracks. I introduce myself and ask to photograph him. He says yes in a voice that sounds exactly like Ray Charles speaking voice. As I’m shooting he is telling me proudly about his community work and an upcoming Harlem bike race he is helping to organize. As I finish shooting I ask him about the suit he is wearing. I guess I was expecting to hear something about how he bought the suit back in the 70′s and has been wearing it every Sunday since then. That is definitely not the story I got.
“I got this suit in 1990, I was dealing drugs then and one of the girls I sold drugs to threw this suit at me as payment. She would usually steal $20 or $30 bucks and give me that but this time she just threw this suit at me”
I can’t make this stuff up, I can only hope to remember it until I can write it down. His story was not hard to remember.