Personal Work and Senseless Violence

young man portrait eagle tattoo shot by Nigel Morris

I am writing this blog post today with a heavy heart in a sense. I am currently shooting some personal work, and I didn’t want to show any of it because it is not complete, and it is an ongoing project for me as well. But thats not the reason for my heavy heart.

The project that I am shooting is portrait based. The project is being shot in a section of Brooklyn called Coney Island. I try to head out there at least twice a week. So far the project has turned out really well. For those of you that are not to familiar with Coney Island, it is basically a very culturally diverse section of Brooklyn. Coney Island is known for it’s Amusement Park, Boardwalk, and Beach. I usually end up in one of the aforementioned locations and finding subjects for the project.

This past Thursday, I ended up on the boardwalk. While on the boardwalk, a young man caught my attention. This young man had an Eagle tattooed on his chest, and it triggered something in my mind that works perfectly for the project I am shooting. We spoke for a while, and he agreed to pose for a portrait. We talked some more afterwards, and then we parted ways.

About 20 minutes after I shot the portrait of the young man, I looked up and the sky became grey. In turn, I began packing up my equipment and headed home. That was around, 5:10pm. I got home by about 6:15pm. I remember watching television and a news flash came on the screen. Apparently, there was a shooting involving 5 people, with one fatality, on the Coney Island boardwalk, about a half an hour after I left. My heart sank. I couldn’t help but think about the young man that posed for the portrait. I was relieved when he sent me an email later on that evening, asking about how did his portrait turned out.

I actually received a few phone calls from a good friend and some family that knows about the project, and was concerned about my safety.

It is heartbreaking to me that, the world we live in today, is so violent at times. No one values life anymore. In my lifetime, I don’t think I have ever heard of someone getting shot to death on the beach/boardwalk. I can’t even comprehend what would make someone bring a weapon to the beach. The beach is for relaxing, enjoying family and friends, yet someone took it upon themselves to turn it into a bloodbath.

I am disgusted by this, but I will not let it stop me, or my pursuit to finish my project. This incident however, did make me appreciate my life, and those around me a lot more.


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