A series of photographs taken by Bronx residents over nearly a decade offers a rare and intimate view of the New York City borough.
They appear as part of an exhibit co-prepared by Rhynna Santos, founder of Instagram account “Everyday Bronx,” who has posted a photo of the Bronx every day for the past 10 years.
The assortment of about 150 images – mostly taken by amateurs on mobile phones and submitted via a hashtag – depicts life in the neighborhood from the perspective of the people who live there and conveys ideas about family, community and youth, among other things.
According to Santos, the project was designed to break false preconceptions that often exist about the Bronx that roughly make it poor and dangerous.
Now an exhibition has opened in the Documentary Center Bronx featuring select photos and some videos from the Everyday Bronx Instagram page, which has nearly 50,000 followers. It runs until May 14, 2023.
A new exhibit in the Bronx features photos posted to the Everyday Bronx Instagram page — a photo has been posted every day for nine years. Credit: Michael Young
The project was designed to break negative stereotypes about the Bronx. Most of the photos are taken by people who live in the municipality and use mobile phones. In this photo, a group of residents is standing in front of a memorial
Santos is a Puerto Rico-born documentary photographer who lives and works in the Bronx. She leads a five-person volunteer team that manages the account.
“We’ve been vilified with so many horrific negative stereotypes and I want to try and do something to show the opposite of that,” she said. New York public radio last month. “We really want to show the uniqueness, diversity and complexity that is in the Bronx that you don’t normally see.”
She also wanted to spread the message that photography is accessible and that anyone with a phone can use it to tell moving stories about people and places.
“Photography can be incredibly elitist, and if you don’t have a $4000 super camera, then, “You’re not a real photographer.” I do not believe that. I believe you do the best with what you have.’
The photos captured people playing sports and spending time in public parks and green spaces. Kids play with hula hoops, balls, pogo sticks and BMX bikes.
Other photos candidly show people walking the streets past the typical architecture of the neighborhood, showing how calm and peace reign amidst the chaos of the Bronx.
Last month US Census data revealed that Bronx County, with a population of 1.42 million, has one of the fastest declining populations in the country. In the past fiscal year, the population fell by about 41,000.
According to NYPD statistics, total crime in the borough, including murder, rape, robbery, assaults, and burglaries, was up 4% year-over-year by 2022. So far in 2023, there have been 26 murders in the neighborhood. But it’s still a sharp drop from the dark days of the 1990s, when a whopping 653 people were murdered in a single year. Violent crimes decreased by 64.9% in 2022 compared to 1990.
Two boys straddle BMX bikes off East Fordham Road in the Bronx. Credit: Heriberto Sanchez
A group of kids pose for a photo while the third jumps on a pogo stick. Credit: Michael Young
A girl eats a pizza in the booth of a pizzeria in the Bronx. Credit: Rhynna Santos
A couple holds hands on a street in the Bronx. Credits: Chantal Heijnen
A young girl lies on a gym mat. Credits: Katie Khouri
Two girls play with hula hoops in a parking lot in the Bronx. Credit: Jon Santiago
Passers-by look curiously at a large turtle making its way across an empty road. Credit: Rhynna Santos
As part of a wedding procession, a bridge and a groom cross a road at Melrose Avenue in the Bronx. Credit: E. Gordon Berroa
A man about to grab a bite to eat approaches two other men, one drinking and the other yawning. Credit: Jon Santiago
A man walks in front of a piece of graffiti that simply says ‘The Bronx’. Credit: Edgar Santana
Hairspray is applied to a person getting a haircut in a Bronx barber shop. Credit: Rhynna Santos
A group plays handball in a public park. Credit: Jon Santiago
A man grooms a young girl’s hair. Credits: Tariq Toure
A man in a batman baseball hat tends to two children on the subway. Credit: Edwin Torres
Two kids pose in superhero costumes on a Bronx street. Credit: Rhynna Santos
A BMX bike is pictured in the air at Wendell Foster Park in the Bronx. Credit: @vassilicool
Puerto Rican flags are interspersed with an airplane in the sky. Credit: Rhynna Santos