GB meets GB
Looking for traces of queer histories in Harlem, I stumbled upon the men's bathhouse, tales of speakeasies such as the Clam House (where gender-bending performers were the norm) and finally Gladys Bentley. She immediately caught my eye—a Black woman in a tux. The year was 1920-something. The Clam House was on 133rd Street between Lenox and Seventh avenues. Gladys was writing and singing obscene versions of popular songs there.
On the way from the studio, from below I saw above.
I made this image on February 14—Valentine’s Day. My godmother and I were in a cab on 103rd Street driving along West End Avenue to 34th Street. I was aiming my camera out the window, catching buildings, streetlights, billboards—anything you might see from a car in Harlem. When the cab suddenly came to a stop—as yellow cabs often do—I accidently snapped a shot of the inside of the cab. When editing my work, I realized the pictures I took inside the taxi were pretty decent, so I decided to submit this one for Harlem Postcards.
I am particularly fascinated by Harlem's hand-painted signs. This image was taken from a diner on 125th Street. The sheet of plywood is a quick repair job and the flowers are painted onto the window. I wanted to turn a simple reflected scene of people waiting for a bus into something strange and magical, something happening below the surface.