Brooklyn, New York * March 2013 * Olympus OM-1, 35mm
One year ago, one Saturday, I photographed my very pregnant sister. One month and a half later, she would deliver the first grandchild of the family. And this April, my blue-eyed nephew Henry Felix will celebrate the one-year anniversary of his birth.
For this particular Saturday, I travelled from (my then homestead) Kenya to Brooklyn. My mother travelled from our hometown in Los Angeles. And we spent the day. Us three. Cursing the remnants of winter’s scorn in March. Drinking tea. Admiring my sister’s belly. Chatting about her baby shower. Ping-ponging baby names back and forth. And, quite literally, braiding one another’s hair (cue: black-and-white photo above). Two generations and a third (in gestation) playing the Beatles on repeat. Because the baby would dance and squirm to the sound of “Octopus’s Garden.”
As delicately and unobtrusively as possible, I tried to capture our day on the analog camera my mother used when she was my age, and which she had given to me. Unaware that the light meter was giving me false readings, I was devastated when I picked up the under-exposed negatives from that Saturday’s photo shoot. Ultimately, I was surprised and proud of the grainy, whimsical images that outlasted our day together.
I introduce my sister. My friend. My beacon. And, my (almost) nephew.