I am originally from the town of Caguas, Puerto Rico where I was born on February 10, 1940. My parents, brother and I moved to the east Bronx on Washington Avenue and 182nd Street. During my senior year at Theodore Roosevelt High School on Fordham Road, I worked as a page boy at a law firm down on Wall Street. As a youngster, I held a variety of jobs before serving in the army from 1963 until 1965. I worked at a deli, at a shoe shine, at a Western Union delivering telegrams, and as a distribution clerk with three different companies, filling clothing orders for their respective stores. From 1960 to 1962, I worked at a cigarette manufacturing company that had me test the flavor of newer brand releases even though I didn’t smoke. After serving in the army, I held more jobs with First National City Bank, the United States Post Office, the New York City Conventions and Visitors Bureau, Bankers’ Trust, LaGuardia Airport, Castle Check Cashing Corporation and a check cashing business we now know as Pay-O Matic. I even drove a yellow taxi.
I have been married twice, and remained with my second wife until her passing in 2019. I have three children from my first marriage, two daughters and a son. Now that I am retired, I am a grandfather to five beautiful children, and enjoy music and working as a cab driver in my spare time.
Being a people person, I like to photograph people going about their daily lives because you never run out of models. My interest in photography started in the 60s just before I was drafted by the army. I didn’t necessarily consider myself a shutterbug then, but I did enjoy taking photos. My favorite thing about photography is that we get to stop time in a way. Years later, we can look at the photos I took and go back to that time and place, even if just for a moment.
COVID-19 has been a real drag, so listening to music and taking photographs have been my escape hatch to happier times. Reading and arranging things, discarding things I haven’t used in years, rearranging photo albums from times past, calling people I haven't spoken with in ages, learning how to cook and keep a tidy house... this is how I have spent my time during the pandemic. I am an extroverted introvert and in a way, this has helped me cope. I have to be myself because everybody else is taken.
PERSONAL PROJECT: THE PART-TIME TAXI DRIVER
During the COVID-19 global pandemic, students documented their experience with physical distancing and self-quarantine. As we had no access to their cameras, they used their mobile phones to capture the constant changes they faced, both positive and negative.