His voice wasn’t familiar. But the name he questioned was, ‘coffeetographer?’ I looked up and saw a man with nature in his eyes. We were on Staten Island,attending the Future of Storytelling Fest and I was holding an oat milk matcha latte whose hue was like the reflection bouncing back at me behind his specs.
Stephen, was attending the annual Future of Storytelling Festival as was I. I entered into one of its main halls for panels, with a green matcha, only to discover because of the building’s historic standing I couldn’t take it in. And then, as I pivoted to see where I could hurriedly drink my ‘lunch’, a voice I later would come to know belonging to Stephen Onisanya, a Staten Island resident, documentary photography and insightful human being spoke
We spent the rest of the day together, talking about becoming photographers – and we are still becoming – about the power of story, how it’s now being enhanced by the digital space as well as the subjects that call us to take our lens’ caps off and attempt to document humanity.
Stephen confessed as have many, that he’s not a coffee drinker. That’s quite alright. I affirmed that drinking coffee isn’t a requirement to being part of this culture.
Between sitting at communal tables; meeting other storytellers, laying in a tent and experiencing sound through our ears and backs, to riding the ferry to Manhattan when the sun fiercely began converting the sky’s colors as if it was religion and the sky was its disciple we became friends
Since he’s not a coffee drinker what does he drink?
“I very rarely drink tea but when I’m in the mood for it, my choice is always chamomile with honey.”
This is Stephen.