Project Lives: New York Public Housing Residents Photograph Their World, edited by George Carrano, Chelsea Davis and Jonathan Fisher takes you on a remarkable journey into a world turned inside out, where the camera's subject becomes the storyteller.
This collection marks one of the largest efforts anywhere of participatory photography and approaches a new visual medium, a universal language speaking across borders and cultures. For a generation, tabloids, television, and Hollywood have defined the public image of New Yorkers who live in the city's 334 housing projects.
Focusing on crime, disrepair, and other ills that afflict these islands of red brick, such portrayals ironically have made it all too easy for the government to reduce the support these projects have relied on since their birth some eighty years ago. And so, conditions worsen further yet, as the buildings try to soldier on past their useful life, at times crumbling around the 400,000+ tenants.
What if these New Yorkers had the tools and training to document their own lives? And the opportunity to share the result? By using single-use film cameras as a window into the heart of the projects and a creative instrument of hope, the courageous souls set out on a daunting mission to change how their neighbors, friends, relations, and very lives are viewed by America and accomplish more than helping preserve their homes.