Photo Journal Mondays: Claremont Illuminated
By Labanya Maitra
The Bronx Documentary Center is a cultural organization that focuses on bringing photography, film and documentary into the Bronx and its under-represented neighborhoods. As an educational space, the BDC has been motivating youths in and around South Bronx to take up photography and film as valuable life skills.
Six projections lit up the staircase running down from Clay Ave to Webster Ave on 169th street with places and faces from in and around South Bronx’s Claremont Village. The corner celebrated “Claremont Illuminated,” a photography festival organized by the Bronx Documentary Center on 22nd and 23rd June, 2018. Complete with lights, music and refreshment, the two-day event was organized in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.
Bustling with residents walking by, children dancing and people peeping out of windows to find portraits of themselves staring back at them, “Claremont Illuminated” was part of a larger year-long project aimed at engaging youth and artists from South Bronx to activate public places and increase public safety in under-represented neighborhoods.
Bermy Diac, 57, has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years and has seen robbery, intoxication and death on the staircase on a regular basis. “I’m frustrated,” she said. “There are no lights, the stairs need to be repaired, and cameras installed.” She feels this project will bring about positive change in the neighborhood by giving young people a constructive outlet to express themselves. Things have been better over the past year, but “things used to be crazy.”
The projections feature all aspects of the community; the celebration of Eid, portraits of the residents, families, church services, etc. The photographers involved include the BDC’s Bronx Photo League and youth from the Claremont Neighborhood Center.
More information about the event can be found at https://www.bronxdoc.org/events/two-day-photography-festival/detail.