My photographic work in Crown Heights began c.1969, when I began teaching English and Photography in a Crown Heights high school, adjacent to the Brooklyn Museum. Since I was new to the area at that time, it was natural to become excited about the rich cultural diversity of the school and surrounding area.
The humanistic photo-essay/book, "The Family of Man," curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art, in 1955, emphasized the universality of all human experience, and the inter-connectedness of all people. This inspirational work proved to be an invaluable resource for inspiring young photographers, whose lives and communities were often fractured by ethnic rivalries, inner city ills, and much suffering. Little did I know how much the theme of this far reaching work would shape my core feeings and subsequent photography. The present feeling of humanism, ushered in by Barack Obama's Presidency is, in a sense, a validation of so much of what my work has been striving to achieve in focusing upon the ever widening "Circles of the Heart".
Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and the surrounding area, are to me a microcosm--an inner city anvil whereupon the workings of multiculturalism are daily being hammered out. It is somewhat paradoxical that in a community that has presumably been fractured by ethnic rivalries, inner city ills and much suffering, the whole of the human condition may be encountered. It has always been my intention to photograph the beauty, conflict, pride and healing of this culturally diverse community.