August Wilson lived at 1727 Bedford Avenue in the Hill District of Pittsburgh until the age of 13. The life nurtured there became the heart of August Wilson’s unprecedented American Century Cycle of 10 plays, an epic dramatization of African-American life through a century of comedy and tragedy, aspiration, and despair — or as he put it, “love, honor, duty, betrayal.”
August 12 was the grand opening of the August Wilson House - with lots of VIPS, lots of proud Wilson family and community members, and lots and lots of love. Demeatria Boccella of Fashion Africana engaged me to set up a photo studio in the home’s original kitchen. Even with the restoration, I realized the most authentic thing in the kitchen was the light filtering in through the cotton shades from the north and east. The same exact light that August Wilson’s family had experienced cooking and eating there. It felt like holy ground and tapping into the original light felt like the perfect jumping off point for my portraits.
Like every photograph I take, I had no idea what would happen before it happened. I took in all the in-between moments, but was also not afraid to direct things a bit. The portraits were there for a moment then gone forever. Except in the photographs that allowed me to share it all with you.
It is just like a play - the scene is created from memories and dreams, it is performed live - then it is all a memory.