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    An Intimate Look Into The Lives Of NYC Public Housing Residents

    "These photographs are completely different from those normally displayed by the media about project life."

    From 2010 to 2013, the Project Lives program was a 12-week photography course, offering the skills and equipment for tenants of NYC's housing projects to learn photography.

    On April 7, a beautiful 135-page book called Project Lives will be released by powerHouse Books, bringing their pictures together for an unprecedented and intimate look into the lives of New York City public housing residents.

    Each week, participants were given a disposable camera to use throughout the week and hand in at the beginning of the following class. Film was processed and photographs were returned to the participants the following week. As we say in the book, youngsters were puzzled by the absence of the 'delete' feature.
    Angelly Suero / powerHouse Books

    "I love living in my neighborhood because I get to hang out with my friends and dance every day. I've been in my neighborhood all my life. There was once a girl I knew for six years. One day she had to go to a different home, so I made an 'I love you' card." —Angelly Suero

    Dorothy Ballard / powerHouse Books
    All the photos display optimism, courage, and dignity. Contrary to the fears of the housing authority, there were no photographs of stopped toilets or crime scenes. The participants photographed what was important to them, and this was pride in their homes and in their lives.
    Jared Wellington

    "We roam around this spontaneous block sticking together as brothers. Yet we are cousins." —Jared Wellington

    Aaliyah Colon / powerHouse Books

    "I have been there ever since I was a baby and it just means so much to me, because almost all of my family, like my grandmother, my dad, my aunts and stuff, live there." —Aaliyah Colon

    Janyia Ford / powerHouse Books

    "My Favorite person in the world is my mom. I love my mother so much because she is a very strong woman and a great mother to me, my two sisters, and my brother. We all admire her and respect her." —Janyia Ford

    Aaliyah Colon / powerHouse Books
    The participants loved the course, they enjoyed mastering a skill, they were thrilled to express their own artistic vision of their lives. Beyond this, some seniors appreciated the difference between the photographs they set out to take and those appearing in the media; 'Our lives are not like that,' they'd say. These photos are completely different from those normally displayed by the media about project life.
    Aaliyah Colon / powerHouse Books

    "To faces in just one pic. This is my brother Quahmel." —Aaliyah Colon

    Alina Novarro / powerHouse Books

    "Mi esposo y yo antes de casados el tiene 20 anos y yo 16 anos. (My husband and I before we were married, he is 20 and I am 16.)" —Alina Novarro

    Christian Jimenez / powerHouse Books

    "My cousin Alissa likes being bossy because she thinks she is 'popeller'."

    —Christian Jimenez

    Elodie Jean-Baptiste / powerHouse Books

    "When I stood right near my grandma while she was looking at basketball she told me, 'Pa fe sa tout tan anko sof si mwen gen rad bon pou mwen.' She said, 'Don't do that ever again unless I have good clothes on me.'" —Elodie Jean-Baptiste

    Helen Marshall / powerHouse Books

    "Columbia University adds to the neighborhood, but Manhattanville Houses and the Studebaker building still stand regal in the community." —Helen Marshall

    Jane Mary Saiter / powerHouse Books

    "My Neighbors." —Jane Mary Saiter

    Jared Wellington / powerHouse Books

    "The neighborhood I am in is so surprising. Anything can happen, good or bad. The sun rises on our faces." —Jared Wellington

    Janyia Ford / powerHouse Books

    "My stepfather said, 'Come here Fuss.' We call her Fuss because she cries a lot. He said he was trying to look fly." —Janyia Ford

    Margaret Wells / powerHouse Books

    "Can you count the windows?" —Margaret Wells

    Sheik Bacchus / powerHouse Books
    The program formally came to and end in 2014 as a new administration at the agency considered its options. So we then decided to focus on getting the existing photographs seen by more people, to having this change more minds, and to kick-start renewed government support. It will take a book to achieve critical mass and change the national image of public housing and its residents.
    Sheik Bacchus / powerHouse Books

    "Art by Aniyah. Using the back porch for her creation." —Sheik Bacchus

    To learn more about Project Lives and to pick up your copy of the book, please visit the powerHouse Books website at www.powerhousebooks.com.

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