Say my name!

10 Jun 2016
Bronx Photo League/Bronx Documentary Center

Images from Jerome Ave Workers Project.  

Taken July, August, September 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015 5-8PM
Vasquez Muffler
1275 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY 10452
#4 train to 167th Street
(please note this is not at the BDC's gallery)
Free and open to all

October 3-18, 2015
Monday-Saturday  4–7PM
Sundays 11AM-2PM

Ed Alvarez
Trevon Blondet
David “Dee” Delgado
Melissa Bunni Elian
Jesus Emmanuel
Giacomo Francia
Michael Kamber
Netza Moreno
Heriberto Sanchez
Jonathan Santiago
Rhynna M. Santos
Adi Talwar
Berthland Tekyi-Berto
Edwin Torres
Elias Williams
Osaretin Ugiagbe

This exhibition documents and celebrates the workers and trades people of Jerome Avenue, one of New York City's few remaining working class neighborhoods where many still make a living in small shops and factories, or repairing automobiles. The city is considering a plan to rezone two miles along Jerome Ave: speculation and rising rents are already evident.  If passed, the rezoning will lead to construction of housing units, but also, many believe, to the end of a proud culture of industry and work in this last bastion of New York City’s working class. 

The Bronx Photo League, a project of the BDC, is made up of 16 Bronx photographers committed to documenting social issues and change in our borough.  The Photo League works to present a balanced and nuanced image of the Bronx.  The Jerome Avenue Workers Project is the Photo League's first major exhibition. 

The portraits in this show were shot on Kodak Tri-X negative film with Hasselblad cameras and lenses.  Authentic silver gelatin darkroom prints will be on display.

With street vendors, one pattern is clear: people often render them nameless. Even some of the most famous vendors (i.e. “the Dosa Man“, aka Thiru Kumar and “the Arepa Lady”, aka Maria Piedad Cano) are described primarily by what they sell, not who they are. Some vendors eventually give in, turning their anonymity into a brand, as the Halal Guys have done with great effect. Others are given these arguably demeaning/endearing monikers (“Cart Lady” ?? ) despite their best efforts to develop their own business brands, as happened here to SVP member Fauzia Abdur-Rahman, proprieter of Heavenly Delights.

Sure, some vendors can do a better job of marketing. But so too do customers need to start asking vendors their names. We appreciate that this time, at least, the NY Times got it right by proudly naming and sharing the stories of two hard-working vendors in the Bronx — Angelica and Antonio. Not so hard, now, is it?


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