This Bracelet, These Hands

On Monday, I photographed the 9 at 9 poetry event at Busboys and Poets for the Corcoran, who will be using my photos to raise awareness about their 30 Americans exhibit that examines the role of race in art. I photographed the press preview when it opened, so I was really excited when the Corcoran approached me to capture their event. I've written poetry for many years, and it was an opportunity to spend a soothing evening with fellow writers and listen as they responded to the 30 Americans art. I am so thankful to live in a city filled with such a diverse mix of people who all bring unique perspectives to the table. Emotions are quantified differently, but everyone feels the same; it is wonderful to see that come through the poetry and art. 

I took many lovely photos, but my favorites by far are these two. 

After the readings, I approached poet Ernesto Mercer and asked about his bracelet. It seemed really unique and had caught my eye as soon as I got to Busboys, so I introduced myself (as I typically do) and asked him to tell me more about his bracelet. 

Ernesto explained that it was by a local designer who used to work for Calvin Klein, but that it was made under unique circumstances. One day at CK, the head designer approached the designer and told him he didn't use enough classic Calvin Klein materials. In response, the man went straight downstairs to fetch a fistful of vintage leather belts from the early 1970s. He cut them into strips to make bracelets, and then looked around to look for more "classic" Calvin Klein materials. He lit upon the extension cord at his desk and the bottle caps from the beers he was drinking and fashioned the piece Ernesto was wearing. How witty! 

I love that story; the designer took it off and gave it to Ernesto when he complimented him on it. The gifting of the piece is just as special as how it was created. I love that this classic DC poet was wearing a bracelet that can only be thought of as poetry. It is very fitting. 

I snapped this photo of an elderly gentleman's hands as he was writing during the reading. As a fellow writer, I understand the immediacy that comes with the urge to write; I often forgo socialization, sleep, and a myriad other things to tap away at the keys or feel the brush of thick parchment paper traveling beneath my pen point. 

Big thanks to the Rachel Cothran and the rest of the Corcoran team for having me out.