Dudley Brooks became a photographer, he says with a laugh, because he "refused to get a real job."
"Being a photographer gives you a license to go out and see how people live," says Brooks, 40. "And in order for us to learn about each other, we have to see how other people live."
Brooks's pictures of the Anacostia High School football team provide an intimate look at the everyday lives of youngsters in one of Washington's most troubled neighborhoods. The story, Brooks says, is about "the relationship between boys and men." Now those boys are on their way to becoming men themselves: Of 15 seniors on the team, Brooks says, 13 have plans to attend college to continue playing, and the other two are awaiting offers.
In his photographs of 12-year-old boxing prodigy Deion Robinson, Brooks creates a portrait of determination. Robinson's father, Henry, fully supports his son's boxing but, Brooks says, "he couldn't get over the fact that I got paid to do this. He said, 'I'm gonna send my kid to hang out with you instead of getting his head beat in boxing!'"
From the psychedelic fury of an all-night rave dance party to roommates clowning around at the laundromat, Brooks captures the motion and energy of the world at large.
Brooks has been with The Post since 1983. In 1992, he co-directed "Songs of My People," a book and exhibition project documenting the African-American community through newly commissioned work from 53 African-American photographers. He is a 1980 graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore.