It’s Sunday morning on Manton Avenue, and I’m struggling. I go into a church and ask to make some portraits, but the pastor says he has to first meet with the board. Farther down the avenue, men in African dress are congregated near an apartment building, but they say no – they don’t want any pictures today. I am standing in a driveway, talking to a family from Puerto Rico, when across the street this young man walks by.
The next thing I know I’m running after him, calling out, but he has headphones on and can’t hear me. He’s moving quickly and we continue, block after block. He stops to adjust his earbuds and I catch up to him, tap him on the shoulder, ask if I can take his picture.
He looks at me quizzically, and then he softens. He says he’s having a terrible morning, trying to walk off his anger. He never thought, on this morning, that a white lady in a yellow shirt would ask to take his picture.
His name is Scott, and he was born and raised in Providence. For a long time we stand on the street corner and talk – about relationships, about spirituality, about betrayal. About the nephew whom he adores, and the friends who have turned against him.
Scott proposes a weedy lot for his photo, but I urge him farther down the street. We make a few pictures in a doorway, along an alleyway, against a fence. We go back to the lot he originally proposed, and he was right; it is the best place. “See?” he says.
When we are done, we exchange contact information: cell phone, email, Facebook. He gives me a long hug, and says, “I know you’ve got your lady balls on and you’re all tough and working alone out here, but be careful.”