A Lifetime

Young Men Dancing
Young Men Dancing

131 Years.

That’s how long the Young Men’s Olympian Junior Benevolent Association, Inc. has been organized. Can you imagine that? They began in 1884. My grandmother was born the same year. She’s not here anymore. They are. Not the original members. But their ethos, their culture and their traditions are. That’s been passed on from generation to generation. That is so important.

I believe I told you what social aid clubs were established to do. They looked after their neighborhoods, their members and their families. They helped with groceries when money was low. They looked after their sick. They buried their dead.

Today, one of the most important things they do is to teach young men how to be. They teach honor. Integrity. Generosity. Kindness.

Oh yeah. They teach them how to dance. To mourn properly. To celebrate life.

That’s really what this second line was about. The route changed slightly. But, when they walked past Lafayette Cemetery No. 2, they stopped. The band played a dirge. The members walked slowly and reverently. That’s where their dead are buried. After they passed the cemetery, the dirge was replaced with a celebratory song and the dancing resumed. Like a jazz funeral.

The pictures. They are pretty simple. Young men dancing. Elderly men dancing. Somebody to play music in between. Sort of a direct line from one to the other. In reverse. Or not.

Despite my discussion of using photo manipulation to make the picture that you intended, this is just pure photojournalism. Street photography.

Sure. I cleaned up the pictures. The color is balanced. Contrast too. But, not much more. These pictures stand on their own. They have to. One more thing. Black and white clothes in high noon light is a nightmare in which to work. If you look closely, you’ll see that I took these pictures in a little shade. Makes a big, huge difference. Work smart, they told me.

One more thing. This is where I started. When we returned after our storm driven exile in the desert, this is the first second line I photographed.

Making Music
Making Music
The Dancing Never Ends
The Dancing Never Ends


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