Photoville

david gonzalez
david gonzalez
David Gonzalez

This is about a world that, to me, decades later, is neither forgotten nor lost. It’s a place where my mind and heart were stirred to life by the sound of Papi playing guitar by our bedroom window on Beck Street. Those boleros—which he had learned as a child in Puerto Rico—were beautiful and heartbreaking, dramatic and romantic. They were about a place that was physically gone, but ever-present—if only in his mind. Yet those songs kept him rooted to Caguas, a town he left at 14 years of age, and would never again see before his death in 1980. I would learn to relate.

The Bronx has always centered me. The stories of those who stayed, and the friendships of people like Jacob and Father Flynn, showed how to rebuild a community that had been shunted aside, abandoned, and incinerated. From community gardens to street fairs, from Hunts Point to Crotona—this series documents the random encounters with people and places that occur on the margins, geographically and otherwise. Along stretches of industrial waterfronts, parks and neighborhoods, I find myself at home, emotionally above all. I start random conversations with people about anything—the kinds of encounters that have always kept us together in good times and bad. My Nuyorican generation learned during the fires long ago how to weave through cultures, classes, languages, and even attitudes—knowing that our stories go way beyond victimhood, or being ignored.

These images, which span four decades, may not be what you expect—either of the Bronx or of me—especially if you’ve been accustomed to the usual urban tropes (or marketing plans). They have everything to do with the Bronx. They have nothing to do with the Bronx. This is my Bronx life.

 

RESOURCE LINKS

This 2009 cover story in the NYT Metropolitan section goes deep into the backstory:
https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/nyregion/23bronx.html

A 2017 talk and slide presentation at the School of Visual Arts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiCmAD-GU6k

Artist Bios

  • David Gonzalez

    David Gonzalez

    David Gonzalez is a Nuyorican photographer born in the Bronx. He has received his education from Cardinal Hayes High School, Yale, and Columbia. He began taking photos seriously in 1978, then shifted to writing until 1999, when he resumed making pictures while reporting in Central America for The New York Times. He is a founding member of Seis del Sur, and longtime co-editor of the Lens blog.

    Photo: © Edwin Pagan/Seis del Sur

Organizations

  • Photoville

    Photoville

    Photoville is a New York-based non-profit organization that works to promote a wider understanding and increased access to the art of photography and visual storytelling by producing a free annual festival, amplifying impactful narratives, and connecting artists to a wide global audience by activating accessible public spaces via large scale exhibitions.

    Proudly devoted to cultivating strategic partnerships and creative collaborations with community spirit, UPI approaches its mission of cultivating a wide, diverse audience for powerful photographic narratives by working closely with visual artists, city agencies, nonprofit organizations and educators worldwide to create new exhibition and public art opportunities that showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography. For more information about Photoville visit, www.photoville.com

  • Peanut Press

    Peanut Press

Bronx Life

 archive : 2021

Featuring: David Gonzalez

Presented by: Photoville, Peanut Press
  • Photoville
  • Peanut Press
View Location Details Number 29 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 2

146 Furman Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
Explore other locations and exhibitions nearby

  • Monday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Tuesday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wednesday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Thursday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Friday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Saturday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sunday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

These images will be part of a Peanut Press Portfolio to be released in October 2021.

Related Events

Oct 162021

Bronx Life

Join David Gonzalez in conversation with Elizabeth Krist to discuss Gonzalez’s work from his exhibition, “Bronx Life.”

Learn More

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings