"My body my choice!"

As she hops onto the barricade with hundreds of people watching, she raises her hand, yelling "My body, my choice!" All genders..all races yell back in agreement "My body, my choice! Not my president!"

Ant-Trump Protest November, 9th 2016. 

When The Unexpected Strikes

I got to the subway station today, excited to release my New York gallery. With photos I’ve grown attached to & moments I’ll never forget. But sometimes life has a funny way of working.

I go to switch my camera on but it stays off. An hour later I’m trying again but it's the same result.  A while ago I made a promise to God & recently, I’ve been breaking it time after time.

Three hours later, I receive a message I couldn't believe I was reading:

"Hey Jeffrey! I'm Elder Christensen and I am from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! I saw a few of the pictures from your profile and your photography is amazing! The reason I messaged is because recently we have been reaching out in the community to offer service of any kind! Is there any service that you need? :)"

I know God is showing his self to me in any way possible. Just like I prayed for him to do. 

We all have a reason to doubt but we also having nothing to lose by asking to see. Maybe it won't be the first time you ask, but it will always be the best time that he'll reveal his self to you. 

Thank you guys for sticking with me. I hope that you find your peace & that you keep your faith. Cause he kept his faith in you.

The New York gallery is now live.

Signs From The Unseen

Another day & I'm sitting here typing this, reflecting. Reflecting on how one small move can completely change your life.

A couple days ago I was skating down this hill..fast. I'm approaching the intersection & I see a car approaching..but it's not stopping. There's a stop sign but the car keeps rolling. Rolling right through the stop sign & slamming me right in my chest; flying me a couple feet in the air.

I sat there for a few seconds confused on what the hell just happened.

"Did I really just get hit by a CAR?"

"I'm so sorry..I'm so sorry!! I didn't see you!!!" This idiot lady said.

This is a hill that my cousin has skated for over ten years...with no issues. Coincidence that I get hit on my third month of being here (my lucky number 3) & a week before I head to my next destination on this journey?

That was two days ago. Now I'm sitting here thinking what's next.

I was supposed to head to my next destination on October 1st. Well, that's not happening. What is happening is I'm going through with this case. Which will take at least three months to finish.

So is this a sign from God showing me it's not time to leave yet? Or is it a sign that I shouldn't be skateboarding anymore?

I'm staying here & finding that out.

God sends us signs all the time & if we don't pay attention them, how will we ever know which direction to take?

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Andre Berto vs. Andre Ward

I was sitting in front of Starbucks thinking on how if I just had the right investors, the right financial support to focus solely on my photography & magazine, I would be on 'nother level.

Deep desire & emotion ran through my body that night.

So I walk into Five Guys to get some water.

As soon as I walk in I see a guy that looks exactly like my CouchSurfing friend I met a few months ago.

Something told me I needed to talk to him. & if I didn't I would regret it.

So I did. Come to find out he came from France & is African. From Chad to be exact.

My family speaks french & is from Ivory Coast. The west part of Africa.

So we exchanged contact information & he was on his way to catch up with some friends.

I'm feeling positive so I decide to go up the street & shoot.

Not even an hour of shooting, this guy with a broken arm keeps staring at me.

Finally he comes up & asks "you a photographer?".

So I explained him my story on how I was couchsurfing the globe, working on my photography..y'all know the story by now.

Come to find out he's a Dallas Cowboy thats in NYC to get surgery on his arm.

"Where you from?" he asked. "From Charlotte, man." 

"Yeah? We were just living in Concord but we're in the process of selling the house..."

I'm from Charlotte but I lived in Concord with my family I told him.

Knowing that there's no such thing as coincidence we exchanged contact info & kept it moving.

Feeling more positive than ever, I knew I was gonna meet one more person that night that would make my hostless night worth it.

And I did.

I believe that when you're feeling 100%, that great things tend to flow your way. So I went & bought a fat sack of gummy bears to treat myself that night.

I'm sitting there snackin' in Times Square...then things take a whole 'nother direction..

Andre Berto & Andre Ward pull up to Starbucks a couple feet away from me.

At this point I'm trippin' BALLS.

His trainer is outside checking his phone while the World Champions are inside ordering.

So I strike up conversation. "Yoo thats Andre Berto. What y'all doing here in the city?"

"Here for a press confrence, man...Say something to him when he comes out"

Best believe I did. But not before I called someone special first.

I got my dad on facetime & told him he wouldn't believe who he's about to see.

Berto finally comes out. I say whats up & with no hesitation he talks to my dad for dang near a full minute. 

Seeing my dad so happy brought me so much joy.

They're done talking & Berto shakes my hand is on his way.

But I couldn't end it on that note.

So I walked quickly back up to him. "Hey man, let me get a photo of you real quick"

"For sure" he said.

The rest is history.

See just the night before that I was in Virginia for my cousins wedding for the weekend. Before I left, my family spoke to me about coming back to Concord to spend time with my sister. She was going back to school in Poland that week. 

But I couldn't do it.

I can't go back home until I accomplish something big that I feel truly proud of. I miss my family like hell but its motivation for me to stay up on these sleepless nights & grind. 

So I came back to New York while my family went back to North Carolina.

24 hours later all these blessings unfold.

The connection between the wedding & the boxers?

My cousins husband is Hatian. Andre Berto..the humble world class champion?

He's Hatian too.

 

No Coincidence

A few days ago I was hostess for the night. So once again I found myself in times square. Why? Cause there’s so many people there, you just might bump into someone who can host you. & that’s exactly what happened.

I was standing there & thinking, when this kid comes up & asks “hey, can you film me while I skateboard & I’ll do the same for you?”. Say what? & he repeated himself. I looked at him real quick & asked if he could really skate. You’ll see why after watching the video. He drops his bag & camera right next to me then skates off. Showing me that he’s bout that life. So I’m like alright lets do it. 

We get done skating & he asks “so where you staying tonight?”. I told him how I had no host for the night. He goes “Well that’s great. My host just got engaged so she’s gone for the weekend. You can stay with us.” 

BLESSED.

We woke up later that morningto go explore before he headed back to his country. Germany. See, he’s a couch surfer too & has been couch surfing for the past twelve months. We might not have the exact same goals but we’re on similar paths. His last night was spent here in New York City. Coincidence that we bumped heads? Not at all. Just reassurance that I’m on the right path.

 

 

 

 

Self Awareness

In one month of being in New York, I've gotten more accomplished & made more connections then all my time of being back at home. This is a big blessing but its also about being self aware. You can be great at something but if you're not in the right area how will you meet the right people or master your craft to progress even quicker?

You've gotta get in where you fit in sometimes. Today is the day I was suppose to leave to my next destination but with all thats happened here I figured I'd stay until the end of this month. Only God knows where this path will lead me but its up to me to go with the flow & trust God to take control on where it'll land.

Energy

People ask me how I go to these hoods with my camera without any worries. I believe that in any situation, any encounter, you have to approach it with love in your heart & peace in your mind. If you think you'll get robbed what do you expect to happen? Energy is real. The same way a dog bites when it senses fear, a human reacts when it senses negative energy.

Back to The Basics

Back when I was in school, I never really cared for it. The whole process of people passing classes due to how well they can retain information they didn't care about really pushed me the wrong way. But I went anyways cause well, it was the right thing to do.

But lately. My perspective on school is changing. I want to go back & study photo journalism. I'm in love with just roaming around alone. Exploring random destinations & capturing scenes as they unfold. Its my way of fully being in the moment & getting my natural high off life but still providing others a perspective we tend to miss. Maybe you might not have the skills to be a pro skater but you have the creativity to create your own skateboard company. Life is all about self awareness. I'm very aware that I've been blessed by God to capture moments as they unfold & possibly even writing about them. So why not take it to the next level & put my all into just that?

Unknown Destinations

Another unknown route leading to a unknown destination. I went exploring in Crown Heights, Brooklyn yesterday & it was amazing. I felt like I was in a movie but the script was unknown & I went with the flow. This flow led me to the hood part of Brooklyn. Its getting late but I don't leave yet. I see this Jamaican guy smoking a fat doobie & kindly asked if I could take a picture of him. "Yeaa mon, whatcha want me to do?". I took a couple pics of him & was on my..to I don't even know where. I had no host for the night so I asked a guy where the nearest subway station was & he directed me. I'm on my way there & thats when I heard it.

The music blaring, kids riding their bikes & the grown folk chillin' back & choppin' it up. It was a live cookout. I was hungry as hell but had to save money for some $1 pizza slices later that night. I asked the host how much he would charge me for a plate. "Man take whatchu want bro. Get a beer, a burger, hotdog. Get whatchu want". I'm like "man you forreal?". So I go about my business. Getting filled up for the night & on my way out, I gave the guy my card & said  "hit me up whenever you need some photos done..I gotchu for free bro. I appreciate you.". Then I left.

Its almost 12a.m. & I'm thinking about what move I'll be making for the night since I had no host. So I got off the next subway stop. Which just so happened to be a 24-7 Dunkin Donuts. I'm editing, working on stuff & this kid named Riz On asked me if I wanted some coffee. "Sure man, thank you." So that was already cool enough for me. But nah, God had other things planned for me. The kid comes back & asks me what kind of sandwich I want. Like what? Man I'll take any kind of sandwich. THANK YOU. So he brings me a bag...with a hot croissant bacon egg & cheese sandwich & three different danishes.

God had a path for me that day & unknowingly, I followed it. Listen to your gut & keep God first. Magical things will happen.

Just Smile

I fell asleep on the train, heading to a Adidas Art show. In return I was super late & realized I was in the Bronx. So instead of being pissed I figured I’d explore the neighborhood. Kids playing soccer as families watch on the sidelines. Bikes rolling. A cool lil evening in the Bronx. The day was made when I got on the subway train heading home though. I’m on the train & this short old man sits directly across from me with this interesting hat & pale old skin. Doesn’t bother to look up, just looks down the majority of the time. Then I saw it.  “Just Smile”. Here’s this old man who has this hat & head tilted down..barely seeing his eyes..but I saw the pain. Taking in the scene for a few more seconds, I captured it. “Just Smile”. If we all did just that then the world could be a much better place.

CLT to NYC

For the past four nights I've been without a host, sleeping at Central Park & other areas. But I didn't stress cause I knew God had something planned for me. 

About three months ago in Charlotte I found a Street Soccer League playing off of Central Ave, right across from where I lived. I spoke to the guy who was in charge of the community. His name was Pete. I told him I'd be around again to snap some photos while they played. Since then I have not seen Pete.

But Pete's presence came & found me in Times Square. July 9th, 2016.

Its 4a.m. & I'm up exploring in Times Square. I see this guy setting up the same set up of Street Soccer I saw once before. "You guys gonna need a photographer, man?". He told me they already had one. "Well if you need a backup let me know, here's my card." He calls me the next morning while I'm asleep in front of a store. Tired as hell, I miss the call but replied back to his text. He booked me for 3 hours that day. I get there early & one of the first thing he asks, "Are you from North Carolina, man?". I told him that I was from Charlotte. "Yeah I figured when I saw the area code..we had our first set up there. One of my buddies run it." I asked him what his buddy's name was. His name was Pete.

I have no idea what Jesus has planned for me but I know I'm on the right path. He shows his self to me everyday, hence why I never stress & always go with the flow, trusting in him. Whenever you feel uncertain about things just ask him to guide you, put you in situations that will lead you to where you wanna be. Be genuine & speak to him like you speak to your friend. Cause he is your friend.

Ivory Colors

Cinematic Views

When I'm shooting I get a high that can't be bought. You can't put a price on it & make it happen. The things that happen in front of me cause me to react & shoot at an angle that portrays life the way I see it. Eric Kim said "Each image I shoot of a stranger is a self-portrait" & thats something I really agree with the more I think on it. A lot of the photos that I shoot show things that I experience..anxiety, loneliness, happiness, etc. It's all perception through my subconscious. There's something everyone loves so much that gives them that high that they forget about all their problems & live in that exact moment. Maybe you found it. Maybe you haven’t. But when you do, put your all into it. It will take you places you only dreamed of.

Ivory Colors

Black Lives Matter Protest

The love mixed with sadness & anger filled the air last night whole heartedly. Hundreds of people gathered in the City of New York to protest against the killings of innocent black men. It was beautiful to see the gathering of all different races come together to stand for something that we all should agree on. No person should be treated any differently cause of their skin color. The sad part is that I feel that protesting won't end the police brutality thats been going on for years now. The only thing that will stop or decrease these killings is the day when all gangs, all races, genders & police unite to fight against this corrupt system. The day that the "good cops" actually put their foot down & start standing up for this brutality will be the day we will see a drastic change. Until then, history will keep repeating itself..

These first couple of images all took place at Union Square beginning at 5p.m. eastern time.

We all migrated & took the protest to a larger scale: Times Square.

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No this image is not photoshopped. Its exactly what you see: A young black woman protesting for her black people & in return gets arrested by a black cop. We have gangs that's killing our own people but missing the bullet on the biggest gang of them all.  The sad part is that I feel that protesting won't end this police brutality. What will stop these killings is the day when all gangs, all races, genders & police unite to fight against this corrupt system. The day that the "good cops" actually put their foot down & start standing up for what's right will be the day we will see a drastic change. Until then we'll just have another nigga dead. #blacklivesmatter

New York City

Its been 5 days here in New York City. Months ago I visualized all this unfolding..now I'm here & its unfolding in ways I never expected. I've had great conversation with people that at first glance you'd assume would be anti-social & spazz out..but when they speak they're soft spoken & genuine. So I've been learning to ask & not to assume. Another thing I've learned is that life is what you make it . We all have different paths in life with our own struggles but it all comes down to how we see things. We can look at something as a sacrifice or as an investment. Maybe we can't quit our jobs but we can lower costs & live in new ways to get to where we wanna be. The choice is yours.

Update: I'm in Starbucks using this guys laptop since mine just died, finishing up this post. More updates on the way. Talk to you soon.

Ivory Colors