Portrait Taking and Story Telling in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn with @ruddyroye
New York photographer Ruddy Roye (@ruddyroye) tells the stories of people in his neighborhood through Instagram.
"I grew up in Jamaica hearing the old adage, ‘no man is an island,’" says Ruddy, "so I photograph scenes that we pass everyday that might seem uncomfortable to talk about. My broader work seeks to tell the stories of people who I consider to be forgotten by society."
In his rapidly changing Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant, Ruddy finds many neglected people and shares their stories through his portraits and in his captions. “I try to convey to people the fact that we are a community that seems to have forgotten that we are all here for each other. I am hoping that someone looking at my photos might feel moved to connect with people in their communities whom they might not have noticed before.”
"I first saw Instagram being used about a year and a half ago while assisting on a job," says Ruddy. "My friend, John, on every break kept posting images of our work and getting immediate feedback. I thought that it was incredible to be receiving conversation in real time and I was immediately hooked."
For Ruddy, that feedback and the conversations he has with his followers is a key element in how he thinks about storytelling and portraiture. “I feel like it’s less about convincing someone to take their picture. To me, it is more about an invitation. If there is a tip I’d offer, it would be that each portrait I encounter, where I have to talk to the person, I share with them the series that I would like them to be a part of. It’s never that I just want to take the picture, but that they will be a part of a story that I am trying to tell.”