PORTFOLIOS: Arabbers of Baltimore
My Arabber Portfolio was published in
FADER Magazine, October 2006
This project began as the documentation of the Arabbers and their stables in Baltimore, Maryland. The word Arabber is not used to indicate ethnic origin but to define a merchant who peddles produce while walking along-side a pony pulling a cart of vegetables and fruit. There were only a handful of Arabber stables left when I photographed in 1987 - 1988.
The stables housed working animals as well as many pet ponies, horses and occasionally, goats and roosters. Older men worked and visited the stables while neighborhood boys cleaned up in exchange for riding privileges. Young men care for their horses as though they were new cars and rode these petson the city streets. I will forever be grateful to the men and boys who allowed me into their world and taught me how to ride bare back through the streets of Baltimore. There were no women in this world, it was a male oasis. Showing my dog and primate photographs and giving proofs granted me access. Horses, ponies, goats, and chickens in the city - I was in heaven. I focused upon the kids, who had so much fun. Ordinances were later imposed to curtail the Arabbers in Baltimore. I did not realize how quickly the stables would disappear. I found this African American southern tradition of tremendous pride in maintaining horses again Philadelphia.