What Will Tomorrow Be Like?
My name is Margaret Floyd and I am 70 years old. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and moved to the Bronx in 2008. I graduated from Pace University with a bachelor’s degree and from Columbia Business School with an MBA in management and human resources. I’ve worked for several banks including Citibank, Chase and Deutsche Bank. I retired from Carver Bank, an African American run bank located in Harlem NY, in 2011 as their Chief Human Resources Officer. After two years of retirement, I opted to accept a position with the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) as a Housing Assistant supporting the residents of the Monroe Houses in the Soundview section of the Bronx. I was promoted to an Assistant Manager within one year and transferred to the Castle Hill Houses where I also joined the Kips Bay Castle Hill Senior Center. Unfortunately, I slipped and fell on the ice one day in March of 2015 and had to retire from NYCHA due to a head injury as a result of the accident. I have a traumatic brain injury and nerve damage in my neck and I am subject to seizures and a stroke, but I don’t let that stop me.
I decided to enroll in the Bronx Documentary Center (“BDC”) photography class offered at the Castle Hill Senior Citizen Center as another activity to keep me busy and continuously learning. Although I like to take pictures, I’d never had a real interest in photography. However, the class has trained me to see more than what I used to see. I now see the patterns and shapes, the colors, the interaction of light and shadows, and even the texture of objects in my surroundings. I’ve learned that I prefer to take photographs of clouds in the sky, portraits in the mirror and patterns in landscapes (I suspect it may have something to do with a relationship to my need for organization and order).
I started my third BDC photography class (an advanced class) two weeks before New Yorkers were ordered to shelter-in-place to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and all the senior centers were closed. As senior citizens, we are considered more vulnerable to catching the disease and less likely to survive it. So, our photographs had to be limited to our immediate surroundings. Though limited to my environment, what I was able to observe, and photograph, was limited only by my imagination.
My photographs reflect what I have now been trained to see: the fullness in the emptiness of a blue sky with the lazily floating white clouds. I can see the vibrant purple color in the iris flowers bending over after a hard rain in my garden. I’ve noticed patterns in mirrored reflections and objects and shapes of buildings and cars parked on the deserted streets. I see the texture of food, the sunlight reflecting through the window and so much more. I no longer consider myself just a picture-taker but a photographer.