Gregory Halpern and I met for the first time about five years ago. He’d brought an 8×10 black clamshell case to my apartment in Brooklyn, filled to the brim with full-bleed, dark and muddy prints. He’d made the photographs while traveling through some rough neighborhoods in Buffalo and Omaha. The lives and situations he recorded were bleak, but his pictures exuded a glow of emotion that somehow left you feeling like things were going to be OK. Nothing came of the meeting at the time, but his pictures stuck with me.