A Product Of Our Environment: A Preview Of What I'm Working On For Aperture

So last summer in the midst of a project I was working on called Down These Mean Streets, The Aperture Foundation contacted me saying they wanted to meet. They wouldn't tell me what it was for and I had to submit to a portfolio first. So I did. Fast forward to a couple weeks later, some meetings had, a proposal written, I get an email saying I got it. I was one of five photographers (the others being the incredibly talented Gabriele Stabile, Thomas Holton, LaToya Ruby Frazier and Shen Wei) selected to document the New York City Green Cart Initiative. This commission is in partnership with the Tisch Illumination Fund, The Mayor's Fund for New York City and the Department of Health and provides underserved urban communities with ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables via hundreds of independently-owned Green Carts stands.

One of the things that I was intent on showing in the work I made for Mean Streets was the lack of healthy food options and the ever abundant liquor stores and fast food chains and I wanted to continue this exploration. So for this commission I will be photographing in the geographic locations within the 5 boroughs where the highest reported instances of poverty, obesity, diabetes, illness related to poor nutrition and people living without health insurance overlap with the locations of the Green Carts. My goal is to create a visual record of the food options that surround the Green Carts within this geographic overlap. I’m interested in the impact the fruit and vegetable carts will have on these areas and how they will compete against one of America’s most addictive drugs: fast food. As our country adapts to a changing economy and we debate healthcare, the weight of these national issues can be seen on a local level through the Green Cart initiative and its influence on New York City’s most economically deprived neighborhoods.

It is exciting to be a part of this project and it is so important that commissions of this nature are put into action which demonstrate a commitment to explore social issues through the medium of photography and continue on in the vein of the great work done by the WPA photographers many years ago. There is no time since then more important for this than right now.

-To see a preview of all 5 photographers' work please visit the Aperture Foundation website.