The halls of The Point CDC were filled with proud alumni and new talent. The walls were covered in thickly black rimmed framed photos of nature, urban life, contemporary families, everyday moments, cityscapes, and landscapes.
The photographers were from the latest class of students from the International Center of Photography’s program, which on July 25 marked its 20th anniversary at The Point.
The program instructs children and young adults from ages 9 to 19 about photography and photojournalism.
Eboni McDaniels, 12, a student of the program smiled widely as she stood next to her photo near the entrance and said she was thankful for and how the program helped her grow as an artist.
The photograph McDaniels took had a simple composition, a single point perspective photo of a wig store. Her photo showed the full length of the shop from the entrance towards the back wall. The floors’ black-and-white checkered pattern and strong finite lines juxtaposed against the curled and waved wigs.
“Photography has definitely become an outlet for me to express myself in certain ways,” said McDaniels. “I guess this program has pushed me to a point where I can’t live without this, you know? This is something that I love to do.”
Roy Baizan, 21, a teaching assistant and alumni of the program, said the program did not just help him grow as an artist, it also helped open his eyes to the world around him, and showed him how to tell the stories of the people he has encountered and observed.
“Before coming into this program I’ve seen the Bronx represented in a way that was not always the best. Following stories of prostitution, drug addiction and poverty, and keeping it under that same light,” said Baizan. “Coming into this program I saw what independent documentarians and journalists can do to counteract those narratives and tell more nuisance stories.”
Isabel M. Figueroa, 29 and the youth programs manager for ICP for the past seven years, was pleased with the turnout for the anniversary, and proud of the milestones the program has passed for its students and for The Point. She lauded the organization for its work “really engaging young people in arts and advocacy work. It just continues to grow.”