Al Capone's Jail Cell (Eastern State Penitentiary)

I'm going to assume you already know who Al Capone is. After all, he is America's most legendary gangster, in my opinion. He started off as a bouncer and worked his way up to a mob boss. He was giving the nickname "Scarface" and was the mastermind behind the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. Need I say more? This is why I was excited to visit the jail cell where he spent 9 months after being arrested by the FBI in Chicago during the year of 1929. 

Have you ever been to the Eastern State Penitentiary? If so, how was your visit? Did you stop by Al Capone's cell? If not, you should! It's almost like time traveling. 

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There's Always A Story To The Picture

Take a second to study the image below. Who do you see? What stands out to you? Do you have questions? It's important to learn to see beyond the picture. They say that pictures are worth a thousand words, but I like to say that every picture comes with a thousand words. There's always a story behind every image.

I been working on the images for my upcoming exhibition in July. This past weekend I decided to print a few of the images from the collection. Luckily the weather was amazing that Sunday; you could feel the Summer sun peaking through the clouds. I decided to bring my camera with me since I would be walking around the Downtown area. 

David Jones (Downtown, Boston)

David Jones (Downtown, Boston)

Right before I reached City Hall I saw a man sitting down reading a book. I instantly knew I had something to capture. I felt it in my spirit! I humbly approached the gentleman and introduced myself as a local documentary photographer. He introduced himself as David Jones, from New York. He came to Boston 5 years ago in search of medical care. He's been sick for some time but couldn't figure out what it was exactly. He recently found out it's cancer. I shared my blessings but he assured me he was fine. "They removed it and I don't plan on it coming back", he said with a small grin on his face.

David Jones is the reason I love what I do. As I thought about my encounter with him that day, I started to think about how many people have walked past him. How would they ever known that he reads books because his Father didn't believe in TVs? At this point it's not even about taking a good picture anymore. It's about the people I meet and the stories they share with me. It's about those who have no voice or a stage. What started off as a hobby has grown into something much larger. This is why it is important to create (art) with a purpose. It's important to ask questions. It's important to care.

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Puerto Rico (Black And White Collection)

What better way to start off the year than with a trip to Puerto Rico? Last time I went I was 15 years old. That was 14 years ago. But that's a story I'll be blogging about soon enough. Aside from personal family reasons, I went to create work for my upcoming photography exhibition. For obvious reasons, I can't share any images that will be on display, but I put together a small #BlackAndWhite collection  to give you a taste of the work I did in my homeland. Hope you enjoy!

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Star Rios: Daughter Of Legendary Rapper Big Pun

Before I ever dreamed of being a photographer, I wanted to be a rapper (I'm sure we all did at some point in our lives). I wrote my first verse when I was 15 years old. There was something magical about marrying words together with the intentions of painting a picture in someones mind. Considering my love for poetry, it was easy for me to find an interest in music. 

Star Rios - Bronx, NY 2016

Star Rios - Bronx, NY 2016

When you come from the 'hood, rappers are like heroes. They represent a way out of the struggle. It's a "if he can do it, so can I" type of thing. Especially when you can relate to them on a personal level. Big Pun was one of those artist for me as a kid. He was Puerto rican, raised in the city, and overcame all obstacles. Before him, I had never seen any artist represent my culture with such pride. At least not one I could relate too. I remember I would stay up late nights listening to his songs. Trying my best to memorize my favorite lines.

*Now lets fast forward more than a decade.

Here I am, on my way to the Bronx, NY to work on a documentary project with Star Rios. Yes, the daughter of legendary rapper Big Pun- the one and only son of Tony. If you grew up listening to him like I did, I don't need to explain how surreal this moment was for me. All the hard work and dedication was finally paying off. I felt rewarded. I knew I had earned that moment for myself.

Star Rios & Butter

Star Rios & Butter

We got to NY and immediately went to the royal family's home. We got straight to work. She didn't hesitate and jumped right on board with us. I could sit here and fill this blog with all the things we did and spoke about, but that's not what I want you to take away from this post. I was truly blown away with how humble they all were. They were quick to welcome my team and I into their world. It was easy to get work done while still enjoying my time there. I was able to cross paths with Prospect, Bodega Bamz and other amazing artist. 

So this is me saying THANK YOU Star, for being so humble and for your willingness to work with some Boston cats. 

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