Brooklyn Photographer’s Art Adorns Bus Stops, from Bushwick to Chicago

Posted By NYC Newswire

By Christopher Edwards

An unseasonably hot day in March didn’t stop passersby from grabbing a free cup of hot cocoa on a Tuesday afternoon in Bushwick.

Provided by Lips Café, the drinks were given out in celebration of a new public art series titled “Let Me Know When You Get Home,” a series of 13 photos shot by Brooklyn-based photographer Clifford Prince King. The series, hosted by the non profit Public Art Fund, will be displayed through May 26, at 330 bus shelters and newsstands in NYC, Boston and Chicago.

Clifford Prince King, center, is the photorapher behind “Let Me Know When You Get Home,” a public art series that will be displayed at bus shelters across the city. Photo: Christopher Edwards for BK Reader

The series was shot over the summer of 2023 and is a “visual diary” of his travels in Brazil, Cayman Islands, Vermont, Fire Island and Syracuse, King said.

Like much of King’s other work, the series touches on themes of Black queer identity, connection, desire and belonging.

King said he wanted to “fill in in the gaps of visuals that I didn’t really see growing up.” The subjects are often his friends or people that he’s met before, which creates a layer of trust, he said. “I sought out community and tried to make these images for myself and ultimately for others.”

In a photo titled “Guilty of Love,” King is shown kissing a man in a field as the two hold their hands behind their backs in handcuffs. Many of the photos were chosen because they were taken in nature, to contrast the city environments where they’ll be displayed.

Originally from Tucson, Arizona, King is entirely self-taught.

“Most of my practice comes from watching films growing up. I spent a lot of time watching movies and studying cinematography on my own,” said King, who first began taking photos of his friends in high school with film and disposable cameras.

In 2016, King moved to LA to further his career, but after a while, he grew tired of the city, so he moved to Brooklyn in the fall of 2023 after completing this series.

Clifford Prince King talks about his work at a celebration of his photo series “Let Me Know When You Get Home. Photo: Filip Wolack, Courtesty of Public Art Fund NY

King, who currently resides in Flatbush, thought of the series’ title, “Let Me Know When You Get Home,” after hearing himself say it to a friend after a night out.

“I was like, ‘Oh, that sounds nice,'” said King. The title’s deeper meaning touches on the importance of safety within queer communities.

To find more subjects to photograph for the series, King turned to dating apps throughout his travels.

“I got to know these people and have these exchanges about what they’re doing; what they’re passionate about; sometimes their coming out story, their relationship with their families,” said King. ”I  think it just resulted in becoming friends really quickly in order to kind of make these [photos] feel genuine.”

Though his work is now being displayed in three major cities, King is not too fond of the spotlight, and he said he prefers to maintain a level of personal anonymity, as well as anonymity of his subjects.

“Nowadays, photos can be so much more about who’s in it, if they’re cute, if they’re tagged in the photo,” said King. “It kind of becomes about the person and their followers, versus just focusing on the image that’s being created.”

King is currently working on an exhibition in Switzerland scheduled for later this year. He wants to fine-tune the composition of his works going forward.

“I’ve done the work that I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time, and I’ve watched it take its own form,” said King. “Now I’m trying to focus on different ways of communicating deeper feelings.”

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