Stay Out of Trouble

Texture for background courtesy of Evelyn Flint.  See more of her work here.

I was, as I often do, thinking about light and wanting to do more with low key, dramatic portraiture.  I invited my friend, actor and model Kwame Rock, to my studio and he graciously accepted.

I was delighted to see him, not simply because he is my friend, but because he had suffered some setbacks with his health.  At one time, he could not speak, he could not walk, but slowly and surely, he is coming back.

I enjoy conversation with him and I find it fun to get my light the way I want it and let him take control.  We are close in age and are both the product of being raised in New York City.  During this session, he had me laughing with stories about his father.  As part of his recovery, Kwame spent some time with his dad in Harlem.

Mr. Rock:  Where are you going?

Kwame:  I'm just going to meet a friend and grab a coffee.

Mr. Rock:  I want you to stay out of trouble.

Kwame:  Dad, I'm 52 . . .

Kwame's father is retired NYPD and I could hear echoes of my own dad - "Stay out of trouble."  It doesn't matter how old we get, we still could "get in trouble" by "doing something stupid."