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Image by Hunter-Desportes
Image by Elvert Barnes
Sunday Photo Walk . Downtown . Farragut Square, NW . WDC . Sunday afternoon, 10 December 2005
Street Life series
Elvert Xavier Barnes Photography
When I’d began to snap this picture the subject would yell back "Don’t take my picture pissing". And before I could turn the camera away he said "Go ahead, I don’t care …!".
When ever I now observe someone urinating in the street I remember when over Presidents Day 2003 that I was almosted arrested in NYC, in the Bowery, when after ‘partying’ at the Saint White Party that I would piss in the street.
I had actually travelled to NYC to document the F15-03 Anti-War Protest and, in the process, would plan to attend the White Party. Similarly, one year later when I would document the NYC M20-04 anti-war demonstration I would attend the Saint Black Party.
One of the things that has always bothered me, as a black man, is when I ever I have frequented such clubs or gone to gay bars is the fact the white men will always approach me about drugs. As was the case, in 2003, at the White Party. Several guests would comment to me that in recent years, the White and Black parties have had less balck men than years before. When I would move to NYC in September 1980 The Saint would open a few weekends later. My roommate, Frank and I, along with our friends would go to the Saint at least twice a month.
And when I’d move back to WDC I would sometimes take a weekend trip for a Saint Party. The last time that I had been to a Saint event was 21 March 1987 when friend Robert Mapplethorpe and I would go as invted guests. Since his photograph of me was used on the inside of the invitation www.flickr.com/photos/perspective/15922517/.
In my writings and as a tribute to Mapplethorpe I’d write about my 1987 Black Party experience in "…ya’ll just their n_____ …" which reflects on a conversation that Robert and I had on Sunday monring, at Lox Around the Clock, on 6th Avenue before returning to his Chelsea loft.
Though race has always been twisted into and out of my life, at that time, I had no way of knowing the impact that racism would have on my life. Since the circles that I travelled in, the men whom I associated with, and companies that I worked for were mostly white. I, of coruse, have had relations with folks of all colors and ethnicities. And, yet, it always bothered me that white men would always approach me about drugs.
As was the case at the 2003 White Party. Each time that I would go to the bathroom many would follow me to the bathroom … to see if or what drugs I may do, in the stall. The same stall and same bathroom where they themselves were doing drugs.
I would have the same expereince, in WDC, when I work in catering. White guys would approach me about drugs. And follow me to the bathroom. So, over the years, it bothers me when ever I go to the bathroom to take a piss that somebody, black or white, will follow me to the bathroom. And sometimes watch me ‘take a shit’.
While partying and dancing I’d meet a Jewish man. I’d offer him some of my party drugs. We’d dance, chit-chat and then decided to go back to his place, on the Upper East Side.
Just before leaving, I started to go the bathroom, to take a piss. but since the moment that I had met him, each time that I would go to the bathroom to take a piss he insisted on going with me. So, not only would he follow me into the bathroom to take a piss. So would many others.
So, instead of going to the bathroom before leaving I decided that I could probably hold it until we got to his place. Or, if I had to I would sneak around a corner, in the street, and take a piss.
Just as we’d exit from the _____, as is the case often whjen I have to piss … having spent more money than I had planned purchasing bottled water for myself and my aqquaintance and tipping I had already mentioned to him that I needed to get to an ATM machine.
He said that he had seen one just across the street. As we exited the place I said I’ll run over to the ATM, get some catch and take a piss.
Observing the police car a few yards up the street I’d reflect on the fact that having photogfraophed the anti-war protest earlier that day several of the white men who had approached me at the club were policemen. Two I had danced and talked with. One remarked that he was disappointed that there were not many black men in attendence.
Always when I take pictures of protests as I did of the F15-03 police will follow me.
After taking a piss just a few feet away from the ATM I’d insert my card and withdraw cash.
Just as I pulled the cash from the slot a hand touched my shoulder saying "Didn’t you hear me talking to you?"
It was one of the cops that I had observed sitting in the car a few feet away. He said "in NYC it is against the law the urinate in the street. And unles you have two ids I may have top take you to jail."
Knowing that he knew that I had photographed the anti-war protest earlier that day I’d say that I was a photographer from WDC who had come in town to document the anti-war protest. And as such, when I go to clubs, for partyinmg, I usually only will bring some ID. Just in case my wallet is stolen or I get mugged. not knowing for sure I’d search through wallet and could only find one ID. The Jewish man whom, I had met, near by. He took my drivers license and went back to his patrol car. I kept looking inb my wallet, and would come across my voter registration card. I’d rush over and hand that to him.
He said, you seem OK but I’ll have to give you a ticket. So, he did.
On the taxi ride up to acquantaince’s apartment on the Upper East Side I could not but help reflect on the fact that I could easily have been take nto jail. Remembering the many anti-police brutality protests that, in recent years, I had documented in WDC that were held in memory of Amadou Diallo and others I was in no mood for sex or party. Nor pleasant conversation.
The Jewish man and I would spend the rest of the day together partying, talking and sexing. I could not get out of my mind the impact that racism has had on my life. A black man.
Even when I need to take a piss.
Had each time that I had to take a piss someone did not follow me to the bathroom I would have taken a piss before leaving the club. And the ntoo, had I not shared my party drugs more than likely the acquantance would not have had any interest in me.
One of my sisters and close friend whose apartment I stayed in over Presidents Day 2003 as well as in March 2004 when they speak to me about drugs they often speak about the Devil. It has always bothered me, as a black man, when others speak, in tongue or code to me. I often speak to the fact that it has been my experience that folks (blacks and whites) have different expectations and rules for black men as opposed to white men.
It has always bothered me that when speaking about or approaching black men that drugs always become the issue. And since many will interchange the word devil for the word drugs when a white man whose on durgs ask me about drugs, at The Saint, in a bar, or when I cater I have clear understanding of his intentions. Just as i do when someone speaks to me about the devil.
And, yet, it has been expereinced that many of the whites that I know, associate and have had relationships right do do drugs was connected to ther association witrh me.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION . 21 December 2005
Elvert Xavier Barnes Photography
Green Stick Insect (4)
Image by DiscoveringNewSpecies
From the side view of the juvenile green-colored walking stick, you can see that it’s eyes are extraordinary.
See it’s whole body.
Name: Phasmatodea sp.
Size: about 3cm from forehead to abdomen tip.
Gender / Sex: Female maybe
Location: Location: Kinabalu National Park, Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia.
Date: 16 Dec 2009
Time: 12:30 pm
Fraser Island 0604
Image by Michael Dawes
Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucogaster
What does it look like?
The White-bellied Sea-Eagle has white on the head, rump and underparts and dark grey on the back and wings. In flight the black flight feathers on the wings are easily seen when the bird is viewed from below. The large, hooked bill is grey with a darker tip, and the eye is dark brown. The legs and feet are cream-white, with long black talons (claws). The sexes are similar. As in other raptors (birds of prey), Males (2.5 kg – 3.7 kg) are slightly smaller than females (2.8 kg – 4.2 kg).The wingspan is about 1.8 m – 2 m. Young Sea-Eagles are brown as juveniles than slowly become to resemble adults in a patchwork manner, acquiring the complete adult plumage by their fourth year.
The White-bellied Sea-Eagle is the second largest raptor (bird of prey) found in Australia. The largest is the Wedge-tailed Eagle, Aquila audax, which stands up to 1 m tall. The Wedge-tailed Eagle is mostly brown, with a wedge-shaped tail. Young Sea-Eagles may be confused with the Wedge-tailed Eagle, but differ in having a paler head and tail and more steeply upswept wings when soaring.
Where does it live?
White-bellied Sea-Eagles are a common sight in coastal and near coastal areas of Australia. In addition to Australia, the species is found in New Guinea, Indonesia, China, south-east Asia and India
White-bellied Sea-Eagles are normally seen perched high in a tree, or soaring over waterways and adjacent land. Birds form permanent pairs that inhabit territories throughout the year.
What does it do?
The White-bellied Sea-Eagle feeds mainly off aquatic animals, such as fish, turtles and sea snakes, but it takes birds and mammals as well. It is a skilled hunter, and will attack prey up to the size of a swan. Sea-Eagles also feed on carrion (dead prey) such as sheep and fish along the waterline. They harass s
Image by Hunter-Desportes