While researching photographer Antonio Lopez, came upon this website www.getaddictedto.com. I started searching through photography entries/blogs and this is where I found this video. Thoughts began to swirl in my head, past the photos Colin Jones captured.
There is a level of humanitarian yet misanthropist energy when most white documentary photographers attempt to capture some of what ‘Black Life’ is and most POC. What I also always notice is that they’re keen on ’winning’ prizes & platforms off of our perils most times. Listening to Colin’s account of what he saw and felt at ‘The Black House’, it just felt __________ (something was missing and I can’t find the word)
In regards to Black Life that was and still is captured in photography and video, what I definitely know whether it’s 1973, 2003, 2013 and the decades before; whether here at ‘home’ or across the waters; we have been & are still catching hell for far too long and there’s been plenty of folks who have ‘won’ and keep ‘winning’ from our hells. There was a wording that insulted my sensibility/sensitivity that Peter Nitsch who composed this blog piece wrote, “In 1973 Colin Jones was commissioned by the Sunday Times Magazine to document The Black House, a north London hostel on the Holloway Road in Islington. Officially the Harambee housing project, it was a government funded local community initiative, which aimed to provide rehabilitation and support for disillusioned black adolescents, who experienced prejudice and problems in education, employment and the law.”
Disillusioned?? Such a politely written word when it does not begin to describe the magnitude of what we’ve (POC) have been growing through and dysfunctional functions we are continuously going through. Perhaps the youth at that time, sought for better than their previous kinfolk had it. They perhaps wanted to grab ‘The Dream’ ‘The Dream’ that was better than their nightmare of living without knowing that something was out there better and somebody has it and they wanted a piece of it! Being born into a place that tells you you aint shit from day 8 (ya know after the honeymoon of ignorance is bliss ends) I feel the disadvantaged illusion to me then as it is now is in the doing/being/thinking that we cannot have our OWN reindeer games. We have to keep playing and paying into ‘theirs’ as ‘they’ make it so. ”Disillusioned” is a grave understatement. IT’S FUCKED UP!
When most white youth go out into the land, they are exploring, experimenting and discovering things. Rarely have I heard the word ‘disillusioned’ used to describe their movements unless it’s their elders (mommy n daddy) wishing they’d stop spending all the trust fund monies on a ‘stipend vagabond’ style of life. I guess the difference is the safety nets. Most POC back then and now have no nets as that couldn’t even be afforded between keeping the basics of clothes on our backs foods on our tables, a clean bed, a clean bathroom and the bit of solace (rather self medicating to cope with a dark ass tunnel that is shrouded with ‘light bright all white is right’-isms) we have it’s looked upon as a sideshow or anecdotes at random lectures and water cooler moments ‘did you read the Sunday Times Magazine article….’
Perhaps I’ll revisit this with new eyes later on. Nonetheless, this awakened the need to revisit Gordon Park’s catalog. I’d much rather appreciate his vantage points particularly of Black Life (and others perhaps) through the eyes behind that lens quite frankly.