In 1951, Langston Hughes wrote “Consider Me” which, like most of his poems addressed current social issues. Today, the poem resonates as we are quickly slipping backwards on human rights and civil liberties, the news cycle dominated by accounts of racism, sexism and homophobia.
"Consider Me" is a portrait series of the people I come across in and around Newburgh. Each person is photographed in my portable pop-up studio set up on the street. There’s no identifying information other than the clothes they wear. Your experience is as if you were walking towards each other on the street.
The work will be presented as an outdoor installation of life-size photographs interspersed with unidentified text panels. You walk through the installation, read statements and histories, but have no idea who is who. You won’t know the single mom from the woman with stage 4 cancer; the detective from the parolee who served time and runs a successful business; the tennis teacher from the homeless man; the opera prodigy from the girl who helps her mom clean houses.
In meeting people in Newburgh, I began to think about my perception of the people we approached on the streets. How many times did I get it wrong? It is time we all confronted our prejudices of, and aversions to, people who are different from us. "Consider Me" aims to do just that.
Funded by Newburgh, NY (April 2019)