By Mark McConville
A BRITISH photographer has revealed the gritty streets of an American town and those who inhabit it in a series of stunning portraits.
Incredible images show a group of teenagers playing basketball with an older man, a topless young boy eating a slice of pizza and an elderly woman holding a kitten.
Other striking shots show a young man dressed in a suit for prom, a couple playing around with each other and a woman trying to light a cigarette.
The black and white photographs were taken in Poughkeepsie, New York by photographer Caleb Stein (23) from London, UK who currently lives there.
“While commuting between Poughkeepsie and Beacon for an internship with Bruce Gilden I started to pass through Poughkeepsie and I realized that I’d never really connected with the place or taken the time to get to know people,” he said.
“I stopped for the first time when a group of basketball players caught my eye. From then on, I started walking along the same strip of Main Street and I started to see the same people in the same places and they started to recognize me.
“The project grew naturally from those walks, from those interactions with the people and places of Poughkeepsie. The project has been about opening up, without judgment, and trying to better understand where I live.
“The project has been about challenging myself to look at whatʼs right outside my front door.”
Caleb, who used a Canon 7D Mark II to take the photographs, said people can interpret the pictures however they want as he was simply recording his walks.
“This is a city that has suffered considerably from poverty, drug addiction, and prostitution. In spite of all of that, this is a resilient city,” he added.
“Poughkeepsie is a tough place, but there are still beautiful, resilient people. There is lots to learn from them, no question about it.
“A woman the other day, Becky, said to me that seeing her picture was shocking because she expected to see the young, pretty girl she used to be before she became a drug addict in 2005 and before her son died of an overdose last year. That’s an extreme example.
“Sometimes people are delighted and other times people can’t believe that the picture shows them; whatever the person’s response, it’s always fascinating for me to see how people behave when they’re confronted with their own image.”