By Paul Goldfinger. Tropicanaforum.com
Three days ago it was raining, so when I pulled into this location, no one was around. I got out and selected 3 lovely tomatoes. There was a tin can on the side with money in it. So I paid what I thought it was worth and then proceeded to take some photos.
The next day I stopped there again, and he was in attendance. I needed some lemons, and he had them. His prices are very reasonable.
There are so many sources of fresh produce and fresh seafood in Southwest Fla, that I wondered how he makes a living. But year after year, he is back, and he has his own business.
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Editor’s note: After this post was originally published in 2019, a reader questioned why I referred to this man as African-American. This is what he said:
“Is the fact that the guy is – in your words – African American’, in any way relevant to anything? Is the fruit somehow fresher because he may have African DNA? Why do people do stuff like this? It’s meaningless somehow…
This is my answer:
His race is part of the story-telling for this photograph. Harlem Heights is a historically black community, so describing the owner of this business is part of that story. I am doing an ongoing photo essay there.
27% of the population in Harlem Heights are below the poverty line and 38% are African American.
I bet the people of Harlem Heights would not object to our story of an African-American who owns his own business there.
When I photographed at Bunche Beach in Ft. Myers I explained that Ralph Bunche was an African American who won a Nobel Peace Prize. It’s part of the story.
I also told how that beach was the only one open to blacks in the past. That too is part of the photograph’s story.
Photojournalism is about story telling, and often some text is needed to give an image full meaning.
It’s not the same for fine art photography where the meaning of an image is left to the observer. —PG