My database of photographs is now serving a purpose I did not expect.

Years ago, while I was living in London, a close family friend asked me to photograph the funeral services for her late mother. Before then, I didn’t think people would want to remember that particular day — after all, what could be more sad than saying goodbye for the final time. But, for me, this request came with the lesson that the cycle of life ends in death and how we say goodbye to someone is just as important as all the other events that have meaning. Arguably more.

Photographing a funeral was a way to provide a valuable service…

Copyright Leon Cato Photography 2018

I checked my phone to break the awkward mood in the section of seats where I was sitting at a meetup of strangers. Not because I was expecting an email, tweet, WhatsApp, text message, Venmo notification or Instagram like. I checked my phone because it has become a default action in society — craning the neck, scrolling fingers and, above all, averting eyes. Smartphones have become a convenient distraction from personal interaction — so I checked my phone because I am a beginner, a tech outsider in the process of learning UX Design.

This was only my second UX Design…

Copyright 2018 — Leon Cato Photography

“Sometimes they change the price in the computer, so it actually costs a bit more” I was told. Of course this didn’t make sense to me but then the Starbucks staff member curtly presented me with two options while dangling the toasted and packaged undersized bagel just out of my reach. “So you don’t want it anymore? Or are you going to pay?” What I heard is, “we’ve misled you on the price but its ready now, so you can take it or leave it.”

As I am currently immersed in studying UX Design, I immediately thought of the book…

Copyright Leon Cato Photography 2016

A few months ago it dawned on me that black people will never be truly free in the United States of America for we were once enslaved on this very land. This sobering step back allowed me to see things in a more historical perspective and I told my wife that unless the US gets a hold of its own human rights issues, relentless greed, vanity, arrogance and materialism this nation will sabotage and cannabilize itself and be reduced to a blip in history.

Then November 8th happened and it became clear that this self destruction is a lot worse…

Copyright 2016 — Leon Cato Photography

“Its hard to tell how old you are because colored people age so well.” As the comment nonchalantly slipped out of her mouth I felt my spirit fly out of my body and stand 5 feet away to observe me, a black fool, sitting there caught totally off guard and totally alone.

I should have known better. Now I could feel everyone’s eyes and judgement, even people who weren’t there. It was like I was caught in racial limbo with whites in one section and blacks in another — both having nothing to do with me. …

Copyright 2016 Leon Cato Photography

Its taking me longer to create a music playlist these days. I have one that is 8 months in the making so far, or maybe more not really sure.

I can only watch about 5 minutes of a game. Two or three passes of the ball and I quickly turn it off.

Watching a television show proves difficult — spoilers be damned. Often I don’t finish a season or series. Doesn’t really bother me much these days.

Because the distractions aren’t working anymore.

Now I read news and articles about our real and cruel world. Written and visual stories that…

Copyright 2016 — Leon Cato Photography

It feels like a mental shift into another reality. Not sure if it’s really a shift or just some sort of linear movement. Truthfully an abstract lateral move is a sobering description but more accurate to be sure. Existing in a space that isn’t recognizable — lost terrain, undiscovered, but most likely untraveled until now for good reason. For movement into this space is not good, has never proven to be worthwhile, prosperous or even sane.

The descent.

One can spend their entire life escaping the descent. I have witnessed it. Experienced it. Continually recreating and pushing so that you…

Copyright Leon Cato Photography 2016

11:02pm and all is well

The hour is late by some measures. I am in the Bronx having left Mt Vernon almost exactly an hour ago. I feel the embrace of my people. I look at folk on this train and individually none of them would necessarily hang with me — but none of them are fucking with me either.

Yes, I could make a wrong step, get caught slippin’ and all that, or run into some young fuck-the-world types and it could all be very real in an instant. But I don’t feel any of that. I feel at ease with a default vigilance…

Copyright 2016 — Leon Cato Photography

12:30am. I’m hot. Its hot. I know its hotter in other places. I think about that constantly. If I’m so hot here, what about muthafuckas in Atlanta, or Guyana, or Rio, or Australia. Man this shit is crazy. It was so hot today I didn’t really leave the house. Maybe its a combination of the heat and the fact that I sweat more easily now than I ever have in my life. Everybody tells me its healthy — good metabolism, gets rid of toxins. But its still uncomfortable. …

I really enjoy the show Silicon Valley that airs during the HBO Spring/Summer Sunday evening lineup. The skill and talent it takes to put together a quality satire about the technology world many of us don’t understand is to be admired. The show manages to hilariously walk us along the path of a talented young techy as he tries to become the next Steve Jobs — which is basically the aspiration of everyone in Silicon Valley.

What was great about the show from the beginning is that just about all of the characters are socially awkward and generally insecure which…

Leon Cato

Freelance photographer & visual artist becoming a UX Designer.

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