These days I see a lot of East New York, since I work there. I'm getting to know to what extent the area is another Washington Heights, full of Dominicans. You see Dominican symbols and culture to an amazing degree there. And, being an artist who likes to take photographs, I've thought of capturing images from the neighborhood more than once. The other day, something cried out immediately to be photographed. I could no longer hold back. Here it is.
East New York Maniquins I
I took out my camera and began considering my vantage point, the scope of the image, and whether I should stand in the middle of the street to achieve the proper distance from the subject. I snapped the shutter and experienced the bliss of creativity.
Surprisingly, out came the proprietor of the store in front of which this motif was set. She was a Dominican woman speaking fairly good English. She demanded to know whether she could do something for me. Her tone had the sound of an inquiry aimed at protecting her property from some intruder's vandalism.
I began marshalling my excuses and explanations: I'm an artist and sometime photographer, interested only in capturing aesthetically pleasing or interesting images of my environment. I'm not any sort of City inspector, or Immigration official gathering information in order to bust your establishment. If that failed to sway her, I could fall back on my status as her compatriot; her soul mate, of sorts.
East New York Maniquins II
By Manuel Macarrulla
In the nanosecond that I contemplated these options I didn't look at her. I snapped the shutter four times. I waved her off without concern. "Nothing, thanks." I got in my car, and drove away.