The Crack King of Kensington.
”Ay yo cuz, take my motherfuckin’ picture.”
I crouch down without hesitation and look through my viewfinder. My lens focuses on Tony Banas, hunched over on the curb brushing his teeth with baking soda.
"See the shit I have to go through?"
I stand up and go to introduce myself but before I can get my first name out he shouts out another question.
"Lemme ask you something. would you ever eat raw meat?!"
He points to the ground where two small slabs of meat where laid across the sidewalk. I go to answer but before I can get a word out..
"Take this picture right here!"
I follow his orders as he begins to stand next to different objects and stare intensely at the camera. He was more natural in front of the lens then any other model I’ve worked with. He would grunt and scream and tap his fingers against the lens as he would pretend to hold a makeshift gun in his hand.
"You’re fam man. I like you. I’m gonna walk with you. Protect you."
And we walked.. Throughout the four blocks that we covered and hundreds of pictures we took I tried to scratch the surface of this self-proclaimed King of Crack. He would begin to talk about his time in the military, doing drugs and growing up in Philly, but just as he was getting into detail about certain events; His voice would shake. His eyes would fill with water. and right when he was about to breakdown he would scream and flex every muscle in his body, reminding me of a toned down but equally as dangerous Hulk type character.
"See what these motherfuckers did to me? Fuck Ron Jaworski."
His thought process was an express train that I couldn’t catch. He was crazy, but he wasn’t stupid. He was just another product of Kensington.
"It’s been real cuz, I gotta take care of some business, I’ll be seeing you again.”
He gave me his address. A 7th floor apartment on a street that doesn’t exist. I do have a feeling that Tony wasn’t lying though, I look forward to seeing him again.
This is so bright either as a document or as a photographic work that I have no words.