Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Forever, aged seven

We were filming a 27 year-old woman who has five children and expecting her sixth. Caroline nudged me and said, "Don't you think you'd better photograph Catherine's seven-year-old? She's beautiful."

Thanks largely to Patricia at the Regional Economic Community Action Program, Catherine and her five children have a roof over their heads in a motel shelter. They live in one room. Patricia is looking for an apartment for them. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Alissa is homeless because — "My father chose his girl friend over me." She sleeps in a car with her boy friend who does a paper run upstate. She spends the day with her boyfriend's brother, and another friend, both of whom are homeless. Often they are in Newburgh because the people, "who have less are the people who are more willing to help. The people who have money tend to treat you like you are diseased, or you are bothering them."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mother and baby on doorstep with friend

I put my camera on the tripod and pressed record. This did not worry them. I decided as soon as I saw them that the picture and action were the thing. I would not be able to record intelligibly the secrets they were sharing; a microphone on the end of a nine foot pole would have scared them away. I walked away leaving the camera running and talked to my crew and other possible subjects on the other side of the street. The couple were too close to each other, too eager to hear the latest news to see or care they were being filmed. 

I felt they knew the small stubby mic mounted atop the camera was not going to make much sense of their conversation amidst the traffic noise and rapping from car radios. Why move from the comfort of that doorstep; so convenient for cigarettes from the corner store.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Couple with five children

On the left is Tiffany, sitting with her partner Michelle. They have five children between them. Tiffany does not want to give Newburgh a chance. She is worried about how to bring up her children there, "To be good citizens, to be good people, to do the right thing. To go to school, to treat others how they want to be treated, to have positive attitudes. To make something out of life because you only get one." Tiffany would like to leave Newburgh. Michelle wants to stick it out. "If we just have a little bit more faith in us, in the community, we would make it."   

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gathering of friends on Lander Street, Newburgh, NY

A very hot day in September. Friendships, teasing, frayed tempers, thirst and criticism of Newburgh run high.

Man's best friend

Here is Travis and his very dear friend Vegas. Vegas did not like the look of either the camera tripod nor the nine foot microphone boom pole when we were setting up to film. He barked and danced about but Travis gently calmed him down explaining that he was perfectly safe and that we needed the equipment to film. As can be seen from this picture, Vegas understood this and sat still and alert, allowing his master to speak his mind about the plight of Newburgh without interruption.

Father and daughter on Lander Street, Newburgh NY

The bulk of the filming of Newburgh: Beauty and Tragedy is complete. If we are lucky with the weather we shall be able to finish it and start work on the editing in November.

At the end of our interview with Point, we asked if we could see his daughter. He spends a lot of time looking after her and he has a particularly gentle way with her. Amongst the violence and hardship that Point experienced during his childhood, he suffered as much, he said, from his father's absence. He does not want that to happen between him and his daughter.