Bronx Junior Photo League

Bronx Junior Photo League

The Bronx Junior Photo League (BJPL) is a documentary photography and college success program serving middle through high school students.

Our free afterschool and summer documentary photography programs teach middle and high school Bronx students to use photography, writing, and research to explore social justice issues and prepare them for college and future careers. The program includes visits with internationally-renowned photographers, field trips to major cultural institutions and media outlets, and opportunities for life-changing national and international travel. BJPL students and families also participate in extensive college prep programming, including one-on-one counseling, financial aid workshops, and college tours.

If you are a current BJPL student, go here to find class information and program updates


The Bronx Junior Photo League is a free year-long documentary photography and college success program for students in the 6th-12th grades. All experience levels are welcome and cameras and materials are provided by the BDC. Have questions about the application or program? Scroll down for our BJPL FAQ or attend one of our virtual open houses this fall.

All BJPL classes will meet in-person for the 2021-2022 school year. In the past year, we have continued to realize the importance of in-person education at the BDC. In order to continue to provide on-site classes we made the decision to require vaccination for all BJPL participants.

For the BJPL 2021-2022 after-school program, in order to ensure the safety of all students, staff, and community members, all staff and eligible students, ages 12 and older, are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

You will be asked to submit proof of vaccination with your application. All records will be kept confidential. This means that, by the application deadline of September 26th, all student applicants must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Please note that children who are 12 to 17 years old are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

We will continue to follow our COVID-19 safety precautions and guidelines, including wearing maskings, social distancing, and moving classes online as needed. All guidelines are listed below. If you have any questions, we encourage you to attend one of our virtual open houses or contact

Application for Returning BJPL Students

7th-12th grade students who have participated in past after-school or summer programs have a separate application and application deadline.

Returning students APPLY HERE. Applications for returning students are due Sunday, September 19th.

Application for Immaculate Conception Students

6th-8th grade students at Immaculate Conception School can APPLY HERE. Applications for are due Sunday, September 26th.

BJPL Open Houses (In-Person + Virtual)

Have questions about the application or program? Scroll down for our COVID-19 safety precautions for in-person learning, our BJPL FAQ, or attend one of our upcoming virtual open houses. (Download Zoom here.)

Tuesday, September 14th, 4-7PM
In-Person: 614 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10451
Virtual: Join the Zoom call by clicking here or enter the following: Meeting ID: 841 3939 4035 / Passcode: 130503

Tuesday, September 21st, 4-7PM
In-Person: 614 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10451
Virtual: Join the Zoom call by clicking here or enter the following: Meeting ID: 841 3939 4035 / Passcode: 130503


October 13, 2021 - June 8, 2022
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:00PM

Open to all students who will be in the 6th through 8th grades in Fall 2021.

Apply online. Applications due Sunday, September 26th.



October 12, 2021 - June 9, 2022
Tuesdays + Thursdays, 4:30-6:30PM

Open to all students who will be in the 9th through 12th grades in Fall 2021.

Apply online. Applications due Sunday, September 26th.



The Bronx Junior Photo League summer program is a FREE six-week-long newspaper and zine and photobook making class for students entering the 7th through 12th grades. All experience levels are welcome for the photobook classes; prior photography OR journalism experience is required for the newspaper class.

PHOTOBOOK (In-Person) | 7th-12th Grade

Students will explore storytelling with photography through the medium of a photobook, experimenting with collaging, zines, and sequencing, ultimately creating their own unique photobook. In weekly Creative Conversations, students will meet working photographers and editors to gain inspiration from their work and learn about possible career pathways.

Open to students entering the 7th-12th grades in Fall 2022. No previous experience is necessary!

Applications will open in May 2022.


COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER (In-Person) | 9th-12th Grade

Students will photograph for and design a community newspaper focused on a five-block radius of the Bronx Documentary Center. Students will be given weekly assignments--as if they were a photographer for a newspaper--that they will complete during class, as well as pitch and complete stories of their own. Students will then work together as a class to design, create, and print a newspaper featuring their work. In weekly Creative Conversations, students will meet working photographers and editors to gain inspiration from their work and learn about possible career pathways.

Open to students entering the 9th-12th grades in Fall 2022. Photography or journalism experience is required.

Applications will open in May 2022.


Bronx Junior Photo League classes will follow rigorous health and safety protocols, including temperature screening, social distancing, and mask wearing, as per New York State Department of Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Parents and guardians will be asked to complete consent forms to participate in the BJPL summer program.

More information about the Bronx Documentary Center’s COVID-19 safety procedures can be found here. If you have questions, please contact the Education Manager at

  • The BDC requires vaccination for all eligible students. All New Yorkers age 12 or older are eligible to get the COVID vaccine and can schedule an appointment, walk-in without an appointment at many city-run vaccination sites, or walk in without an appointment at New York State-run vaccination sites.

  • We require submission of a negative COVID-19 test result to the BDC Education Manager prior to the first day of class each semester:
    • All students must submit a negative COVID-19 test result taken 3 days prior to the first day of class on October 13th or 14th, 2021.
    • All students must submit a negative COVID-19 test result taken 3 days prior to the first day of class on January 24th, 25th, or 26th.
    • Students will not be allowed to attend class until the test is submitted. Scroll down for information on Health & Hospital testing sites (all free) throughout New York City.
  • We will require consistent and correct use of well-fitting face masks with proper filtration by all students, staff, and visitors. The BDC will provide KN95 masks to students and staff each week.

  • A daily temperature screen is required for all students and staff upon arrival. This will be conducted by BDC staff and your temperature noted on the sign-in sheet. Anyone with temperatures above the guideline of 97.1-99.1°F will be requested to go home. We ask parents, guardians, or caregivers to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness including COVID-19. Children who have symptoms of any infectious illness or symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend. Staff will also monitor for signs of infectious illness, including COVID-19, and will not attend if they have symptoms.

  • Students and staff will be required to sanitize their hands every time they enter the building. Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance to all buildings and throughout the classroom.

  • We will clearly establish and enforce physical distancing. We will be meeting in the Bronx Documentary Center’s Annex Gallery and in the adjacent community garden, which will enable us to enforce:
    • at least 3 feet between all masked students indoors,
    • at least 3 feet between all masked students outdoors,
    • and at least 6 feet while eating and drinking and unmasked.

  • We will have hand sanitizer and disinfectant supplies readily available through the classroom and will thoroughly clean between each class.

  • All meals will be eaten outdoors as weather allows. 

  • We will plan for activities that can take place outdoors as much as possible, utilizing the community garden next door and our Melrose neighborhood. When classes are indoors, all windows will be opened for ventilation.

  • All activities will take place within walking distance of the Bronx Documentary Center. We will not take any public transportation during the class hours. 
  • We will provide separated individual spaces to store each student’s belongings. Each student will also be using individual equipment and supplies.

  • If anyone does not adhere to our safety guidelines after repeated (up to 3 instances) reminders from staff, we hold the right to dismiss them from the program.

  • We will follow these COVID-19 safety procedures if any students or staff show symptoms, receive a diagnosis or positive test of COVID-19, or have direct exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. All COVID-19 concerns should be directed to Education Manager Bianca Farrow.

Vaccinations for Students 12+
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to all New York residents 12 and older. Read more on the phased vaccine distribution here. Note: People who are 12 to 17 years old are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

If you have questions, call the New York State COVID-19 hotline at 833-NYS-4-VAX (833-697-4829).

Steps to get vaccinated:

  1. Find a vaccination site near you (not accessible with Internet Explorer) to make an appointment or see if they accept walk-ins. You can also use this sites to help find appointments:

  2. Prepare the proof of eligibility you may need to bring to your scheduled or walk-in appointment:

    • New Yorkers must bring proof of age and New York residency. Some sites may only vaccinate people from a certain borough or ZIP code. See accepted forms of proof of eligibility here.
    • Minors must have identification to verify they are at least 16 years of age, or they must have a parent or legal guardian present to attest on their behalf. A parent or legal guardian must also provide consent for vaccination — either in person or by phone — at the time of the vaccine appointment.
    • You will not need to provide proof of immigration status or a social security number to get vaccinated. ID and residency documentation for proof of eligibility is to confirm eligibility for vaccination. When you receive the vaccine, your privacy will be protected. There are strict laws in place to ensure confidentiality of your personal information.

  3. Complete the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Form in order to get vaccinated. NYS requires the provider administering the vaccine to check that you completed the form.


Health & Hospital Testing Sites for Children Under 18 Years of Age

All students under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present for their test. If the student is over 18, they can get a test on their own. 

FREE COVID-19 tests are confidential and safe. Go to NYC.Gov/COVIDTest or text “COVID TEST” to 855-48 to find a testing site near you. Or call 1-844-NYC-4NYC. Children who are 2 yrs of age or older can be tested at any H+H site. 

DOE-priority testing sites: These sites available for priority testing for all DOE students (3K through 12th Grade). DOE students are NOT required to bring a student ID or proof of enrollment. 

What are the age requirements to be a student?

You must currently be a 6th - 12th grade student*. Have you graduated high school and you’re interested in photography? Email to inquire about our adult program, the Bronx Photo League. *Please note that for Summer 2021 programming all students must be entering the 7th - 12th grades in Fall 2021.

Do I have to be enrolled in a specific school or live in the Bronx to be in the BJPL?

Nope! We welcome anyone from the five boroughs of New York City, although preference is given to Bronx-based applicants. The only requirement is that you’re able to get to and from class every week. 

Do I need to have photography experience?

No prior experience is required! Our classes are geared to challenge students of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. If you have previous experience, make sure to note this on your application, as occasionally we will move students to a more advanced class.

Do I need to have a camera?

Nope! The BDC provides all necessary equipment for students during their time in the program. This includes analog cameras, digital cameras, and laptops for use onsite with the full Adobe Creative Suite.

How much does the program cost?

The BJPL is completely FREE for all enrolled students! We provide equipment, cover the cost of any field trip transportation, and even have pre-class snacks.

When and where are classes held?

During the summer, classes are held twice a week at varying times. During the school year, classes are held after-school. High school students have class twice a week and middle school students meet once a week. We have college success workshops for high school students on weeknights and Saturdays, and host non-required open lab time for all high school students on Saturdays. All classes are held at the Bronx Documentary in our Annex building at 364 151st Street, Bronx, NY, 10451. During class time, we venture into our Melrose neighborhood to make photographs and record interviews. 

If I was already in the Bronx Junior Photo League do I need to apply again?

Although returning BJPL students are given preference during the application process, you still need to apply!

What will I learn in the BJPL?

You will learn how to tell a story about something you care about using documentary photography, a medium that is most often used to shed light on a greater social issue. Throughout this process, not only will you learn how to create meaningful images, but you will develop a deeper understanding of the world around you through a community-based lens, using research, interviews, and writing to explore the stories and issues that are important to you.

What are the hard skills you will learn? You’ll learn how to use a DSLR camera, organize your work in Photo Mechanic and in the Google Suite, outreach to people and organizations, conduct an interview and record audio, research a topic using reputable news sources, write captions and project statements (and more), edit multimedia stories in Adobe Premiere, and ultimately create a complete documentary photography project.

How do I view work by BJPL students?

Check out students’ final projects from the 2019-20 school year at You can also check out past multimedia projects on our Vimeo channel.

Who teaches BJPL classes?

All of the BJPL teachers are practicing creatives, mainly photographers and filmmakers--that’s why they're called Teaching Artists. All BJPL classes have 3 Teaching Artists and a maximum class size of 15 students, meaning that every student receives individualized support. Check out our teachers from our 2019-20 program here!

How long are students part of the BJPL?

Some BJPL students stay for one after-school program cycle (October - June) or a summer program, but the majority of BJPL students stay in the program for multiple years. Returning BJPL students continue to receive support in pursuing higher education, opportunities to travel and share their work around the world, and continue to develop documentary photography projects that they care about. We recently just had a student graduate from the BJPL who joined the program when she was in the 6th grade--she was a part of the program for 7 years. We call the BJPL a family for a reason: some BJPL alumni now assist with teaching the program, or are a part of the BDC through adult programs and fellowships, and many family members end up joining the BJPL or BDC programs.

How do I receive support in my college application process?

College success work is an integral part of the BJPL--any high school student that is a part of our program receives support in their pursuit of higher education and professional interests. We have a college counselor on staff that meets regularly with our students, we host workshops throughout the year that cover topics including FAFSA, essay writing, college lists, self-advocacy, and more, and visit colleges both in NYC and in upstate New York. (Please note that college success work takes place during the after-school program, from October through June.)

What colleges have BJPL students been accepted to?

We are very proud that over the past two years 100% of our graduating BJPL students have matriculated to college! BJPL alumni are attending college at Baruch College, City College, Cornell University, Fordham University, Hunter College, LaGuardia Community College, Lehman College, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Pomona College, Queens College, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oswego, Syracuse University, The Cooper Union, The New School, Wheaton College, and more.

Have more questions? Email


Bronx Documentary Center Uses Photojournalism to Drive Social Change | State of the Planet | AUG 5, 2020

Bronx Junior Photo League: Year-End Exhibition | The Eye of Photography | JUN 16, 2020

The Best Things to See at Photoville 2019 | Popular Photography | SEP 19, 2019

Cómo estudiar cine y fotografía de forma gratuita | Univision | DEC 12, 2018

Young photojournalists' work from the Bronx Documentary Center | CBS News | DEC 9, 2018

Bronx Student Photographers Win Awards for Documenting Their Communities | Vice | MAR 26, 2018

This is 18 | The New York Times | OCT 2018

Teenage Documentarians Show the Power of Photography | The New York Times | MAY 4, 2017

Emerging Young Photographers in the South Bronx | The New York Times | AUG 9, 2016

Youthful Perspective on the Bronx | The Riverdale Press | JUN 1, 2016

Meet Fanta.

Students in our free after-school program gather each week to explore the issues and stories that connect their Bronx community to the wider world through photography and writing.

With the help of community members like you, the Bronx Junior Photo League can continue to grow. Support the BJPL today.

Past BDC students and alumni share their experiences at the BDC.