The inspiration for this pair of photos from my recent Commuter set was a strange set of coincidences. As I was heading home, this gentleman sat across from me. I had my headphones on listening to music. I wasn’t paying much attention to him or the surroundings. It had been a long day at work and all I wanted to do was to get home.
The track that started playing on my headphones probably five minutes after the gentleman sat down was The Hate That Hate Produced by Sister Souljah. In the video of the song, there are two striking images I remember. The first is of a young black male, with a hooded KKK member in the foreground and in the background there is a shadow of a hangman’s noose. The next is of the similar image except the young black man is in shadow hanging from the noose.
While the song was playing I noticed that the way the shadows were hitting the gentleman’s body in front of me it looked like a hangman’s noose. I realized that the hanging hand supports on the bus and the bar holding them up gave the shadow image of the noose. It was so striking to me, especially when I had the song from Souljah in my head, I had to take a picture.
A few minutes later, a young black man came on the bus and when he sat down he was in the right position for the light. It looked like he was hanging by the neck from the noose. I had to take that shot. I don’t think I would have seen the noose image if I hadn’t heard the song and had I not taken the first picture I don’t think I would have taken the second. It was a situation where things lined up and I got something that was incredibly powerful to me.