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Hear Teju Cole Speak On Dr. King, Racist Omission, And Being A Vessel For The Image

Today on "Think," writer and photographer Teju Cole described the feeling that lets him know when to get out his camera.  Then, he walked across the street and provided an example of how his practiced instinct can point straight to a resonant image.

Cole, whose Swiss panoramas and thoughts on honesty in war photography can be found in "The New York Times Magazine," told Krys Boyd that the construction site for the Bleu Ciel tower nudged him as he arrived at KERA studios. 

"There’s almost a little thought that emanates from the scene towards you, and it’s like a wink. It winks at you and says, 'There might be something here.' It comes from your experience and your art, but it also just sort of comes from being in that moment," he said.

"Today we have bright sunshine in Dallas and there are bright colors on that construction site. It looks complicated. It also connects certain ideas I have about what Dallas is – a place that is building, a place that is dynamic in a certain way – it’s a place that has an industrial history. And so the scene winked at me and I want to sort of go there and reciprocate. Like, you know, when somebody winks at you in a bar -- if you’re feeling them, you wink back."

(Residents of Bleu Ciel will pay upwards of $700,000 to live there. As the Harwood District and nearby Arts District stack up on luxury living spaces, the city is still mired in housing distribution problems; advocates say current placement encourages re-segregation and leaves low-income residents with few neighborhoods and schools to choose from.)

Listen to Cole's full conversation about race, experience and photography on "Think." 

"Think" airs Monday through Thursday at noon and 9 p.m. on KERA 90.1. You can stream the show or listen to the podcast.