Ten years ago, the Bronx Documentary Center started a program to train Bronx youngsters in the art of photography. The Bronx scenes those young artists have captured over the years will be displayed in an anniversary exhibit that will open on Jan. 26.
“Through Our Eyes: Youth Photography at the Bronx Documentary Center, 2013-2023” showcases what those young eyes captured. Some of the youth photos have led to features and showings in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on television, and at several photography festivals and competitions.
To honor its students and the program, the Documentary Center will also release a soft-bound book featuring these photographs. The book is currently available for pre-order for $50, and the exhibition is scheduled to run until March 6.
Since its inception in 2014, the program has provided more than 400 middle school and high school students from the Bronx with free documentary photography and multimedia classes. For most, this will be their exhibition and publishing debut.
The youth program is far from a one-off for the Documentary Center. The Center regularly hosts exhibitions in its gallery space and educational classes for adults and youth. Among the most popular of its offerings is a photography club that meets roughly every other week.
At its most recent Friday night photography meet-up, a photographer who identified himself as Carlos said, “Honestly, being here at the BDC was really helpful because I wouldn’t have been able to take this picture before. I’ve tried to take photos in this kind of light, and they’re just super blown out. But it was just a matter of understanding the camera more.”
Michael Young, the Center’s adult education coordinator, explained that the classes and workshops aren’t only about making a documentary or photograph – they extend to teaching more specific topics, such as bookmaking, lighting, editing, sequencing, and portraiture. All workshops are open to amateurs and professionals alike at no cost.
The Documentary Center has held more than 60 major exhibitions and educational and community-minded activities since its 2012 opening. Those include film screenings, lectures, workshops, and guided exhibition tours. To date, it has welcomed over 60,000 visitors, estimated 70% from the Bronx.
Whether you’re an experienced photographer, documentarian, or just starting your journey, the Bronx Documentary Center provides a space where every voice matters.
The opening reception will run from 6-9 pm at the Documentary Center’s annex at 364 E. 151st St.