Overlooked Stories From Latin American Photographers

Children flying kites on All Souls Day in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala.CreditAndres Sosof/Fotokids Guatemala

By Evelyn Nieves ~ NYT

In the South Bronx’s Melrose neighborhood, second only to Times Square as New York’s busiest, residents may soon find plenty of reasons to stop and enjoy the view.


Hustling to the subway or bustling among shoppers on tightly packed sidewalks, they can happen upon arresting new sights: images of life in Latin America and the Caribbean, mounted on a chain-link fence along a sidewalk, arrayed in a community garden or displayed on the grounds of Immaculate Conception School.

Melrose is becoming a gallery, inside and out. For its Latin American Foto Festival, the Bronx Documentary Center is again sharing photography with the community it calls home. The festival, running July 12 to 22, busts past the white walls of exhibition spaces with eight installations, seven beyond the center.

An Easter week procession in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. Credit Carmen Petzey/Fotokids 2018
Jose Miguel Santi leading a night hunting expedition on his cousin’s boat in the Ecuadorean AmazonCredit Misha Vallejo

Photo essays from more than a dozen acclaimed and emerging documentary photographers from Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, as well as contributions from FotoKids, which teaches photography to Guatemalan children, will hang in and outside neighborhood landmarks and city streets.

“We’ve always been trying to break down the walls and get photos out into the community,” said Michael Kamber, who co-founded the Bronx Documentary Center and co-curated the Foto Festival with the Cynthia Rivera, exhibition coordinator.

Latin America — where wars, poverty and threats to rural societies continually inspire new and established journalists — is a hotbed of documentary photography and film. The wonder is that New York, the nation’s largest Latin American immigrant hub, had not hosted a festival like this before.

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