In The Picture: The Bronx Junior Photo League

By 500 Pens Editors 

“Programs like the Bronx Junior Photo League and ICP at the Point show that young image-makers are keenly aware of the world around them and how they wish to portray it,” wrote journalist and photographer David Gonzalez last year in the New York Times. “They know an outsider might see only menace or pain. They see a neighborhood.”

The Bronx Junior Photo League (BJPL) about which Gonzalez wrote is a free, after-school program at the Bronx Documentary Center that’s offered to sixth through twelfth graders. Through it, students are taught how to use photography to explore their communities, families and environments. In addition to lessons in photography and multimedia production, the teenagers learn to conduct interviews and write stories; they meet with professional photographers and visit museums; and, if interested, they are given guidance on applying to college.

Below are photos by BJPL students from an exhibition they held earlier this year, “Journeys: Immigration Stories.”

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Ramundo Salazar, originally from Mexico, in his restaurant on Courtland Avenue. © Justin Arroyo, 6th grade/Bronx Documentary Center
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The student’s grandmother emigrated from Mali when she was 16 years old. © Fanta Diop, 8th grade/Bronx Documentary Center
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Sister Francis came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975. 
© Nailea Dominguez/Bronx Documentary Center
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Osaretin Ugiagbe, a painter and photographer, immigrated to the United States from Nigeria when he was 16 years old. © Mitchell Dennis/Bronx Documentary Center
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Ruth has been working with flowers since she arrived in the United States at age 18.  © Tony Baizan, 12th grade/Bronx Documentary Center

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Cover photo: Bronx Junior Photo League students and their teacher. © Bronx Documentary Center