New exhibit features black & white photos by 23 young talents
Roy Baizan was tired of seeing negative images whenever he searched for stories about Hunts Point online. He joined the The Point’s photo program last fall to create his own images and capture another side of the neighborhood.
“There are stories that need to be told that aren’t being told,” said Baizan, 18.
His portrait of a young man standing on railroad tracks is one of the photos displayed in a new exhibit, Vantage Point 23: Bronx Eyes, featuring work by 23 students who attended the International Center of Photography’s education program at The Point. Since 1997 the program has taught Bronx youth the basics of black and white photography, darkroom development, critical thinking, writing and public speaking. These skills have helped them become more active citizens in their neighborhoods and in many cases inspired a lifelong interest in photography.
“This is activism, this is art and this is youth development all at once,” said Danny Peralta, a program alum who now serves as director of arts and education at The Point.
The student’s work was debuted on July 29, the first such exhibition in three years, to a standing room only crowd in The Point’s theatre, followed by a reception. Family, friends, program alumni and local photographers all came to join in the celebration.
Students captured moments from all over the city – a grandmother at work, decorative vases in front of a window, a peaceful scene at the New York Botanical Garden, kids playing basketball – in carefully developed black and white images that required much more work than the standard cell phone snapshot.
“You have to put more care into it,” said Nailea Dominguez, 12, who wants to be a zoologist and take pictures of animals.
Tony Baizan, Roy’s brother, also participated in the program and said that picking up a camera gave him newfound confidence.
“It lets me be brave enough to speak to people,” said Baizan, 15.
The program has been such a hit in the Baizan household that Roy now has a photo enlarger in his room and both brothers want to become photojournalists. Their younger brother, Christopher, said he plans to sign up for the program next.
Tayvhon Pierece, 19, said the program has changed how he views life in the city.
“Once you start taking pictures, you see things differently,” he said. “I feel like I see in black and white.”
Pierce will be studying liberal arts at LaGuardia Community College this fall, in part because of the school’s darkroom.
Carolin Zayas, who now works as a commercial photographer and teacher, said that even if students don’t choose to pursue photography as a career the experience will still be invaluable. She started attending the program when she was 14 because her school didn’t have art classes and said it had a big effect on her life.
“Photography is a passion you can always go back to,” she said. “This class gives them the tools to express themselves without fear.”