Gunman with Tech-9

I thought this image would be a good photo to represent the current situation and the “Limited State of Public Emergency” in Kingston.

Gun man, seh tell me whey you get yuh gun from
You mus ‘a get it from the foreign
You mus ‘a tek seh me a politician
You don’ know seh me a musician

Gun Man – Yellowman

5/23/95 – (Sunny) Got up at 6:30 so I could get to the Pegasus Hotel by 7:30 to shoot some photos for this model. Is very sunny and very hot today and I’m very, very tired, got in at three in the morning from (club) Mirage. The shoot went well and got some good shots, love my “Pegasus studio”, which is actually the area out behind the kiddie pool, a semi circular white wall that’s great for portraits with the right light plus it has the little pool that’s also great to shoot in.

I’m supposed to meet my bredrin in New Kingston at 9 o’clock to hook up the gunman photos. I got there in time only to have my friend tell me that he didn’t want to go, he said “It would mess up mi ting” (meaning, politics of some kind) He said to go and take Mr.Brown with me. He also suggested that I take his car and drive, (I’ve driven before in Jamaica but not in the Kingston traffic) so it’s my first time driving in Kingston, and I’m going to meet gunmen.

After hanging out a bit and drinking a few beers (I did get up at 6:30) it was now about 10 o’clock and Mr. Brown and I get in the car and back out the narrow ghetto lane by Windsor avenue. We drive over to this community near the stadium and turn off the main road into the neighborhood. As I’m driving down the road and make another turn and what do I see coming at me? It’s a JDF (Jamaica Defense Force) jeep packed with soldiers armed to the teeth! Freaked me out for a minute, was weird because I’m probably meeting the very people who they are looking for, they kept on driving.

We find the guys house and of course we have to wait, and wait, soon come. After what seemed forever the guy comes back with this rusty Tech-9 sub-machine gun. “Is that it, I wanted to see the (M) 16’s” I said. “We were gonna to get the big guns but nuff police around, the holiday (Labor Day) an dem ting, so dem looking, you come back tonight and we get dem” he says. I’m thinking to myself, right like I’m coming back here, and at night. The rusty Tech-9 will have to do.

I started to take some photos making sure not to show his face. I shot a lot of pictures but really didn’t want to hang out to long just in case our JDF friends came back. Before we left he wanted to take my picture with the gun, so I posed for him, it felt strange, I thought here is something that probably lick off nuff shots at people. I did make sure to wipe it off good before giving it back. We talked a bit, smoked some herb, I think he liked me, wanted us to hang out a while longer. Mr. Brown and I decided to say our goodbyes and left to drive back to meet my bredrin. (NOTE: Later in the year Mr. Brown was stabbed and killed while in Half Way Tree jail) I went home and drifted off to sleep until my friend Henry called to say he would pick me up  around 3 o’clock for the big birthday party at one of our friends place up in the hills. Was a pretty big party, lots of beautiful women, amazing food, a big cake, bar tenders and an awesome Mento band and a few more models, saw a lot of people I know. Around 10 Henry and I left to go back to Kingston. Jamaica can be funny like that sometimes, one minute you’re photographing models, then gunmen and then you’re at an up-town party, as they say in Jamaica, “Dat’s di weh dem ting deh.”

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