The studio where I used to live and work was on the edge of Bed-Stuy, a historically African-American neighborhood in Brooklyn probably best known outside of New York as the setting for Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. It is to Brooklyn what Harlem is to Manhattan.
Over the years it also became home to large numbers of immigrants; originally from the American South, Latin America and the West Indies, and more recently from Africa and Haiti. It’s a very culturally diverse neighborhood where, unlike my previous apartment in Manhattan, I was the minority.
But that started to change. The gentrification that has occurred in many areas of Brooklyn began to happen here. In the three years I lived there I witnessed a big transformation. This street portrait project was an attempt to document the people of Fulton Street before the face of Bed-Stuy changed forever.
And personally, it was also a way for me, as a white person in an predominantly black neighborhood, to connect with the people in the community I lived in, many of whom probably regarded me as part of the gentrification.