Gilberts bedroom – his sanctuary, University Ave, 2006
Gilbert, my great friend, host and roommate, University Ave, 2006
John, our former roommate, University Ave, 2007
John, University Ave, 2007
John, is a living miracle. He survived 11 strokes and is still smiling everyday, University Ave, 2007
Our living room, University Ave, 2008
Aajah, visiting Wayne – her dad – in our home, University Ave, 2010
View outside my window, 2006
Sweet Sixteen, 176th and Davidson Ave, 2007
Wayne, my other roommate, University Ave, 2009
Kitchen corner, Evelyn Place, 2007
Shantel, Evelyn Place, 2007
Buddha, Evelyn Place, 2007
Elaine, Wayne’s sister, Tiebout Ave, 2007
Webo and Sheldon, Evelyn Place, 2008
Mary, Gilbert’s mom, 169th and Park Ave, 2008
View outside Mary’s home, 169th and Park Ave, 2008
Larry’s shrine, Evelyn Place, 2007
Miguel, Evelyn Place, 2008
Lin, and her daughter Cindy – from our take away Chinese, 183rd street, 2007
John, in his new home, Southern Boulevard, 2011
View from our rooftop, University Ave, 2010
Charley, our neighbor, University Ave, 2010
John and Gilbert in our kitchen, University Ave, 2007
Arial, visiting Wayne – her dad, Tiebout Ave, 2008
View outside bedroom window, Tiebout Ave, 2007
Raheem, our downstairs neighbor, University Ave, 2010
Street view, 167th street, 2007
‘Bronxites’ gives an intimate and personal view of my new friends and neighbors of my community in the Bronx. My neighborhood is known as University Heights. It’s situated in the South Bronx – on University Ave between 183rd Street and Fordham Road. This photo document represents the people of the South Bronx today the borough of New York that is mostly known as a ghetto and its troublesome past.
Through a mutual friend, a very unlikely but special friendship arose between Gilbert, who lives in the Bronx for almost 40 years and me, a young photographer from The Netherlands. In 2008 Gilbert gave me the opportunity to move to the Bronx, to share space in his apartment and pursue my long-held ambition to photograph individuals from communities rarely seen.
At first sight, the Bronx looked rough and challenging to me. However, as I gained trust and found more and more individuals whose lives they would let me the document I became exhilarated and very moved by the resiliency of this community.
As a former social worker, I am very interested listening to peoples stories and learned that a lot of my new neighbors are survivors- of abandonment, arson and of drug epidemics. But in spite of these challenges, they have been able to transform their Bronx neighborhoods into places where people from a wide variety of backgrounds can feel at home. Including myself. I feel very welcome, safe and connected with this community.