Jun 17 - Jun 28, 2020
Middle School Online Opening Reception + Presentation
Wednesday, June 17th, 6-7:30PM
High School Online Opening Reception + Presentation
Thursday, June 18th, 6-7:30PM
Matthew Almeydas | Gianna Almonte | Fanny Aucacama | Jared Birks | Paloma Boyewa-Osborne | Justin Brefo | Heidi Calderon | Elisa Luna Cameron | Brandon Carchipulla | Anastasia Cardona | Izaiah Cardona | Ana Carmona | Raymond Castillo | Olympia Chen | Jade Delilah Parks | Fanta Diop | Awa Fofana | Fritzi Garcia | Alberto Garcia | Lucki Islam | Savannah Juste | Tiara Maldonado | Tianna Maldonado | Taylor Moorman | Sophia Morales | Reynaldo Olivera | Alexa Pacheco | Carlos Pacheco | Chloe Rodriguez | Pamela Rozon | Tara Smalls | Paola Soto | Nnyala Stark | Adanna Taylor | Eliezer Vargas | Brian Velez | Dylan Velez | Lorena Vicente| Gianni Zambrano
The Bronx Documentary Center (BDC) is proud to present the work of our 11-to-18-year-old Bronx Junior Photo League (BJPL) students, all created during their time in quarantine.
Students in the BJPL, the Bronx Documentary Center’s free documentary storytelling and college success program for 6th through 12th grade students, have been documenting social justice issues and community-based stories since 2013. Beginning in October each year, BJPL students learn how to make strong photos and to engage with the community beyond the classroom. They photograph and interview local businesses and organizations, neighbors we know, and many we don’t. By February, students begin formulating story ideas for their final projects, multimedia stories, and photo essays. They spend 2-3 months working on these projects, editing in Adobe Premiere and making prints in the BDC’s darkroom.
On March 12, 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the BDC made the decision to suspend all programs and move to remote learning. Our BJPL teaching staff spent two weeks revamping our longstanding curriculum and ensured that our students and their families had the support needed not only to participate in photography classes, but to stay as connected and healthy as possible. We delivered laptops by car and bicycle, paired every student with a BJPL teacher for weekly wellness check-ins, and provided groceries and disinfectant supplies to households in need. We built on our existing community in a virtual space, holding weekly creative sessions--most often led by students--for dance parties, drawing, and protest-solidarity sign-making that continued through the end of the semester.
A portrait of Leonor in quarantine. This is part of a visual diary exploring family life and how COVID-19 has affected her community in the Bronx. March 21, 2020.
© Fanny Aucacama, 12th Grade
On March 30th, BJPL classes resumed with a 10-week-long virtual program with a new curriculum building on the compositional, technical, and storytelling skills our students have been learning since the fall. They photographed themselves, their homes, and collaborated with peers through photo dialogues and remote portrait sessions. They created visual and written explorations of their experiences during this time, finding ways to tell stories about mental health, undocumented families, religious practices, and life under lockdown, as well as the direct consequences of COVID-19, including recovering from illness and losing loved ones.
The coronavirus has touched everyone’s life in some way, but the South Bronx, the poorest urban congressional district in the United States, has had the highest rates of coronavirus cases in the country. Throughout our short history, our Bronx Junior Photo League students have always risen to the occasion to decry and document injustices. They’ve stood against climate change, unequal housing opportunities, and violence--just this December, BJPL students demanded safe streets, rallying against a shooting on our block that injured five--and now are safely protesting police violence. So it is no surprise that, despite surviving a global crisis, they have continued to dig deeper on the stories that are important to them, exploring and engaging with the world around them--albeit now a much smaller physical reality.
There are nearly 40 projects presented in this year-end celebration of our BJPL students’ work. These stories, from the too-often-unseen empathetic lens of our youth, are a critical testament of this crucial time in our country’s history.
“Blurred images of reality. Not thinking clearly.” This image is a part of a visual record of the photographer’s mental health throughout the pandemic.
© Elisa Luna Cameron, 8th Grade
A wall in the photographer’s apartment, part of a photo diary documenting a young artist’s experience in quarantine.
© Tara Smalls, 8th Grade
MAIN IMAGE: The photographer's mother and siblings slept into the late morning after a long night of waiting up to eat. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset. Lucki Islam documented her family’s experience of Ramadan, and her own spiritual journey, while in isolation. May 7, 2020. © Lucki Islam, 11th Grade
The Bronx Junior Photo League is made possible, in part, by the Chris Hondros Fund, Citgo Foundation, Clif Family Foundation, Fujifilm, Hyde & Watson Foundation, Henry Nias Foundation, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by City Council member Rafael Salamanca, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Legislature, Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, and the William Talbott Hillman Foundation.
All digital photos taken on DSLR cameras were generously provided by Fujfilm.