Little turtle meets big city.

A turtle jumping for joy! - Akaylah Reed

As a kid growing up in the grand and exciting state of California, somehow my grandparents allotted me the unusual nickname Turtle. Although my formal name is Akaylah Reed, my childhood nickname has seemed to work its way into every part of my life in some shape or form, even here in New York!

Today we Tisch photography gurus took a lengthy jaunt to Coney Island! Having never been to New York and all its well-known attractions before, I didn’t really know what to expect. Having over heard my photo family talk about the exciting enthrallments of Coney Island like the epic rollercoaster Cyclone, and the eccentric live performance of Freak show, I immediately imagined a fun filled place of innocent kid friendly fun. My second thought was “Yay! This place is gonna make really great photos for my text and image project!”. Of course then my imagination began to run wild with anticipation of this magical island covered with rides, candy, and entertainers of unusual proportion. This daydream lasted the rest of the subway ride there.

As we exited the subway and embarked towards what I thought was a little happy island all to itself, someone demanded a bathroom break just outside Dunkin Donuts. Already confused as to where this little island of fun was located in correlation to where we were, I used this moment to ask one of the PA’s named Addie. Addie looked at me in confusion and explained that we were in already in Coney Island. Even more confused, I began to look around and take in this new idea of a fun filled atmosphere. Off in the distance I saw a few old rollercoasters, an attempt at a flea market and lots of cheesy venders. Somehow I persisted to tell myself that the fun was yet to come.

As we approached the flea market, my peers and I were suddenly filled with joy! This place screamed: shopping!! Wandering aimlessly throughout the different venders, I soon came to this stand selling kids toys, hats, and Beta fish. Lured in by the live animals, I suddenly noticed a baby turtle tightly enclosed in a cheap plastic cup. In outrage I began to take a picture of this unlawful and immoral act. As I peered through the view finder to snap a photo of this animal victim to its environment, the vender ushered me and my camera away. Appalled I began to think of all the unjust activities involving animals that remain unseen and therefore unknown to the public. A photographer that came to mind for me was Noah Hannibal. In his photographs he makes accusations for animal rights and features photography “of animal cruelty investigations, open rescues, protests and other events relating to animal rights.” He really inspired me to want make a difference, and further photographing animals and people without a voice.

In the end we bought five baby turtles and they’re now living the college life of a New Yorker alongside us!


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