Travis Rainey

Travis Rainey

I started photographing in East New York, Brooklyn early in 2015. Mayor Bill de Blasio's rezoning program began in this neighborhood and it was close by. I wanted to get to know areas of Brooklyn that were nearer to what my childhood memories of visiting New York were like. East New York is a short walk away from where I live now, so I took my cameras and began meeting people, getting to know them a little bit, and photographing them.

The more I photographed and the more I spoke with other people about what I was doing it became clear that I couldn't easily move past the pattern of white - usually male - photographers working in minority communities. Simply photographing would never be enough, there had to be more emphasis on giving communities like East New York space to present themselves to the public, on their terms. I stopped photographing there in late 2016 and I see this project as a reminder to forge a new way of using cameras to learn about new places. This is why I've included some text from a Brooklyn-born artist, Mone, who I asked to respond to this project. Her words give a clearer understanding of what a place like East New York means to people who were raised here than my images ever could. 

My city, Brooklyn

I call East New York the final frontier

The last of the hood to be gentrified

Cuz they not going out like

Bushwick and Bed Stuy

This where the culture thrives

Nuttys in the summer

Men and women play the numbers

And the blocks alive

The people the culture

Its the last place in Brooklyn

That still looks like Brooklyn

Reminds me of something

We lost

That was taken

A style we embraced an incredible place

And to capture the spirit in

Pictures or scripture is how we refrain

From forgetting the last place in Brooklyn we claim

No industrial district or moniker claimed can change East New York or its Name!

www.travisrainey.com

@ffmgmone

 

 

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