Creating Space for Culture & Photojournalism Uptown
When you think of The Bronx, photojournalism and art exhibits don’t necessarily come to mind. In 2011, established photojournalists, Michael Kamber and Danielle Jackson, co-founded the Bronx Documentary Center [BCD] to remedy that. It was created to commemorate the life of fellow photojournalist, Tim Hetherington, who was killed in April of 2011 while covering the front lines of the Libyan civil war. Located in the Melrose section of the South Bronx, the Bronx Documentary Center is home to art galleries, educational exhibits, and independent collectives. In a recent conversation with co-founder, Danielle Jackson, she explained that the Bronx Documentary Center is “a place that would be for the community. There are not a lot of venues for photography in the Bronx as you would find downtown.”
While the lack of culturally-enhanced establishments seems to be a common trend in the Bronx, BDC was created to provide an informative outlet to those interested in historical and cultural exhibitions. “BDC is also home for meet-ups formed to create collaboration and spark discussion for filmmakers – the group, “The Bronx Filmmakers” meets every Tuesday from 7-9pm to screen their works, discuss projects and ideas, as well as share experiences. BDC also offers the opportunity to attend a free Doc Photo class every Friday from 7-9pm. The class is taught by Kamber, who has been a notably successful photojournalist for over 25 years.
Jackson noted their uptown home as being a “special atmosphere where you really find some kind of last true New York neighborhoods in the Bronx with a really great sense of community and people looking out for each other.” Jackson previously lived in the Bronx for a short time and Kamper resided in the borough during the ‘80s. Since, he has been on the road for quite some time photographing conflict and war for the New York Times close to a decade and has returned to the borough giving back to the community.
Until March 8th, you have the opportunity to view a special exhibit titled “Seis del Sur”, which has been a successful showing of works by Nuyorican photographers Joe Conzo, Jr. , Ricky Flores, Angel Franco, David Gonzalez, Edwin Pagan, and Francisco Molina Reyes II. Opening March 14th, an exhibit showcasing the works of Tim McLaughlin, Gary Knight, and Peter Maass will display titled, “Invasion: Diaries and Memories of War in Iraq”. “We keep an eye on projects we think are interesting and what programs we can support that would benefit the community to cultivate people to feel like they’re apart of the space,” Jackson explains, “We pick shows that will be able to resonate in some way and have a connection.”
By the end of 2013, BDC is looking to develop an after-school program for students based on photo literacy. Students will be shown how to cultivate writing skills, learn more of digital literacy, and be educated on how to hone their interviewing skills. BDC is surrounded by four schools and will provide the opportunity for gallery tours of their showings for the students. Every Saturday, there are documentary film screenings where directors or producers screen their works and hold a Q&A in a special and intimate setting – rather recently, three undisclosed Oscar-nominated filmmakers showcased their works at BDC. The Bronx Documentary Center also offers professional development for practicing photographers, as well as portfolio reviews and workshops with leading filmmakers and journalists.
Jackson concludes that the Bronx Documentary Center is, “a place for you – for all community, family, and crossroads of all different backgrounds. We welcome you!”
The Bronx Documentary Center is located on 614 Courtlandt Avenue. For more information, visit www.bronxdoc.org.