We were nearing the end of the evening of a #MobileStudio event at The Bowery Hotel. One of the hotel security personnel with whom we are friendly asked us if we could make time to photograph an acquaintance of his. This is how we were introduced to Jonathan Fleming. Jonathan is a man who was wrongfully convicted for a Brooklyn murder in 1989 and served twenty four years, seven months and twenty days before he was freed -- his conviction overturned and thrown out. A free man at fifty-one after having given his youth to a system that was more interested in convictions than justice. Read Jonathan's story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/nyregion/brooklyn-district-attorney-overturns-conviction-in-1989-murder.html?_r=0
Jonathan was soft-spoken as he explained that bitterness is not a choice for him during those long years in jail. “I know for a fact that if I had lived in bitterness I would be angry for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to do that, I just want to live my life... That was my focus, just working on my innocence.”
When asked what life is to him now he replied, “Life to me is having this opportunity. When I was in prison, I was dead. I really feel that I was dead. This is life, being out here and being able to live the rest of my life with my mother. My mother is very ill. When I went to prison my mother was forty-seven years old. She’s seventy-two years old right now and she’s very ill and I’m just so happy to have the opportunity to live the rest of my life with my mother. Life is good…Life is good right now.”
We are honored to have had a moment with an individual who has learned the fine art of living under very difficult circumstances.