I first fell in love with photography at Broad Street Market, two large stone buildings with an iron sign reminiscent of Seattle’s landmark Pike Place Market. With Amish influences, the market is set in midtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Every Saturday for three months, I descended upon Broad Street Market to interview Bernard, an elderly market worker with salt and pepper hair, for my senior thesis. Bernard had worked in the market for several years, wiping down tables and throwing out trash left behind in the food court. On the days I would meet him, I navigated through the busy crowd until I found an empty table where I would sit and wait. Bernard would find his way to me for the moments he had between duties. He’d sit across from me and tell the stories of his life. Bernard had spent his childhood in Philadelphia during the turmoil of segregation. His memory was sharp and graphic, recalling stories of tension and animosity in the ‘City of Brotherly Love’. Decades later he would find himself homeless and living in the bathroom of the famed 30th Street train station. Each week as Bernard Spoke, I found myself piecing together his life. In between conversations, the strangers frequenting the market became animated and full of life. Back then I kept a simple Panasonic point and shoot in my bag. When Bernard would leave to clear a table I would capture the moments happening around me.
I became enthralled with capturing the moments I saw at the market and began bringing my camera everywhere I went. In the years to follow, family proved to be steady subjects, along with strangers on the street and the people I encountered in my travels abroad.
In May of my senior year I ventured back to the market to hand deliver a copy of my thesis to Bernard. It chronicled our months together and I was excited to share what our time together had taught me, but Bernard was gone. In the months and years to come, I would visit Broad Street Market whenever I was in the area with hopes of catching a glimpse of him in the food court, but I never saw him again. Over the years, I’ve lost track of most of the photographs from the market and my time with Bernard. Every once in a while I come across one that brings me right back to that table, sitting across from my friend. In hindsight, it was the moments at the market that have shaped my love of photography.
To view more of my earlier work, you can peruse here.