“Eyes Front, Mr. Keating”

A Collaboration Between

Boyd's Station and

American Reportage​

ESSAY

"Eyes Front, Mr. Keating"

Text and Photography by Michael E. Keating

“Eyes front, Mr. Keating,” said every teacher to this fidgety, nosy and perpetually un-prepared student.  The point being made was that there was something of some level of importance being made at the front of the classroom and we should all pay attention.  With military precision heads snapped and eyes trained on what the classroom commander deemed worthy of presentation.

Making my way through the Covid-19 maze where new and different rules seem to apply daily, photographs present themselves in unique ways.  The quest for social justice in the wake of the George Floyd death while in police custody finds activism, artwork and even advertising rich with photographic possibilities.   

I do not carry my full array of digital camera gear with me constantly.  However, I do believe that the best camera is the one you have with you.  A great deal of the time that is my trusty iPhone. So, when opportunity arrives reaching into the pocket for the camera phone becomes second nature.  The results trend toward uninteresting compositions, mostly meaningless over time, but some do seem to resonate and carry added significance in documenting scenes, sights and of life reimagined.

An Asian-American family gathered for a family portrait in a field of sunflowers or a lone figure relaxing in a hammock with a city view reflect the desire of people to escape from their homes into the fresh air.

A trip to a doctor’s office — where masks are required and seating options limited — contrasts with a screened back porch complete with comfortable seating and access to online shopping.

 

A Jim Dine sculpture of Pinocchio, promoting a red-light event in support of federal legislation to assist the arts shuttered by a pandemic and government restrictions, contrasts with a photograph of President Donald Trump (he too, accused of playing fast and loose with facts) affixed to the rear window of an SUV parked in a lifestyle shopping area.

Glimpses of daily life, forever etched in our memory, continue to provide moments that will be recalled in months and years to come…perhaps even an “eyes front” command.

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Every Tuesday and Friday from 10a.m. to noon, Lao Ministry Norwood Church opens their food pantry in St. Petersburg, Fla., to give food to people who need it.

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"Eyes Front, Mr Keating"

“Eyes front, Mr. Keating,” said every teacher to this fidgety, nosy and perpetually un-prepared student. The point being made was that there was something of some level of importance being made at the front of the classroom and we should all pay attention.

essay

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ESSAY

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SPONSOR

The work done by American Reportage and Boyd’s Station would not be possible without the generous support from PhotoShelter, the official provider of both organization’s archive systems – powered PhotoShelter for Brands.

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AMERICA REIMAGINED

PROJECT CURATORS

Charlie Borst

Stephen Crowley

Cathaleen Curtiss

Nikki Kahn

Michael Keating

Molly Roberts