Brooklyn is the most populated county in New York State. It is New York City’s most inhabited borough, with over 2,736,074 residents according to a 2020 census. It is also home to people of numerous cultures, as its residents hail from all over the world.
When Photoville and Prospect Park Alliance asked me to serve as a guest curator on this exhibition of six rising photographers living in Brooklyn, I accepted the task. As a former emerging photographer myself, I understood the challenges that one encounters in the struggle to get their work exhibited. This new opportunity provided me with a great platform to help aspiring photographers showcase their work — curating an exhibition that could serve as a source of inspiration during these challenging times, and to do so within the beautiful space of Prospect Park. The six photographers selected have roots in Brooklyn. They share a common love for photography, and I’ve met them all within the last 10 years.
The exhibit is part of Re-Imagine Lefferts, which is re-envisioning the mission and programming of this historic house museum to better reflect the diverse history of Brooklyn.
Antonio M. Rosario is a staunch advocate for analog photography. His images are focused in part on the diversity of the Kensington section of Brooklyn.
Chris Cook is 28 and the youngest of the group. He embraces traditional black and white street and documentary photography and printmaking.
Amy Touchette specializes in color street portraiture. To create her work, she uses a medium format camera.
Philip Shung was born and raised in Brooklyn. He is a traveler whose work consists of images from around the world.
Shino Kitano was born and raised in Japan. She chose Brooklyn as her adopted home, where she has spent many years living and documenting her neighborhood with a focus on film photography.
Melanie Hill grew up in Brooklyn and has been photographing for about eight years. Her work in this exhibition is centered on the annual Tribute to the Ancestors ceremony, which pays homage to African slaves who suffered during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. It takes place in June of every year at Coney Island.
I would also like to give honorable mention to Kamel Brown and Marcia Wilson for their submission to the project.
All formulated by their connection to Brooklyn, each artist’s work is a beautiful well-mixed mosaic.
This exhibit is presented by Prospect Park Alliance as part of “ReImagine Lefferts,” an initiative to re-envision the mission and programming of the museum to recognize its role as a site of slavery; and to tell the stories — in innovative and inclusive ways — of the enslaved Africans and the Indigenous people of the Lenapehoking who lived and worked the land. As the Alliance reimagines the mission of the museum, we seek to engage the public in a thoughtful dialogue about the legacy of slavery, and the treatment of marginalized communities who have contributed to the rich tapestry of Brooklyn.
Antonio M. Rosario is a professional photographer and filmmaker who shoots predominantly on the street, teaches street photography, and is one of the hosts of a popular photography podcast called Street Shots.
Following in the footsteps of his father, also a photographer, Rosario studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. He began his career in the industry working as a photo editor for many years, before finally taking the plunge and quitting his day job to become a full-time photographer.
Born and raised in New York City, Rosario currently lives in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn with his wife and their feline Americans.
Amy Touchette explores themes of social connectedness through street portraiture. Trained at the International Center of Photography, she began her artistic career as a writer and painter.
Touchette’s latest monograph, Personal Ties: Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, was published by Schilt Publishing (Amsterdam) in 2021. Images from the series debuted at the National Portrait Gallery in London. One was made into a flag and flown at the Rockefeller Center rink as part of Aperture’s The Flag Project.
In addition to lectures and public talks, she teaches street portraiture in ICP’s Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism program and Continuing Education program.
Touchette has written feature articles for PDN, Rangefinder, Emerging Photographer, and Digital Photo Pro magazines, tutorial articles on street photography for Envato Tuts+, and exhibition catalog essays.
Christopher Cook is a New York–based artist, born and raised in Brooklyn. After a friend recommended the Canon AE-1, he began photographing his neighborhood. Cook has exhibited in galleries throughout New York State, from the Lower East Side to upstate Auburn. He was a 2020 AIM Fellow at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. In 2021, Valentine Museum of Art acquired 160 of his Black Lives Matter photographs. In February 2021, Cook’s solo exhibition at Brooklyn’s Welancora Gallery, Am I Next?, showcased his documentation of the Black Lives Matter movement (May–September 2020). In the summer of 2021, he finished an artist-in-residency at Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in Ithaca, New York.
Melanie Hill (a.k.a. Kaleidoscope Lady) is a Brooklyn-based photographer and photo artist. Eight years ago, she began her journey with a Fujifilm point-and-shoot purchased from the Home Shopping Network.
The camera had become therapeutic, enhancing her thirst for exploring the city and providing a meditative way of escaping. She then entered an annual employee contest with one of the major hospitals in New York City — winning first place two years in a row.
Engaging with the public through a viewfinder opens her eyes and mind to refreshing points of view about human behaviors, which makes street photography her first choice in terms of genre. Having 40+ years of experience in art and fashion allows her to merge her interests, creating a niche which she calls, “photo-art.”
She speaks through the camera and the lens is her mic.
Phillip Moi-Thuk-Shung found his passion for photography while working as an art director with world renowned photographers for the past 20+ years.
Shino Kitano is an artist and photojournalist. From her birthplace of Tokyo, Japan to Andalucia, Spain, New York City, and currently Portland, Oregon, she seeks to capture both the simple and complex. Her project We The People with Rico Washington has been added to the Smithsonian collection. Influenced by mentors Jamel Shabazz and Ruiko Yoshida, her work showcases an intimate approach to capturing subjects. Kitano uses photography to connect the beauty of the natural world with the equality of humanity. When she puts the camera down, she can be found tending to the soil to produce herbs for her love of cooking. She also enjoys illustrating the musings she comes across in the world.
Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the mid-19th century, Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s flagship park — welcoming more than 10 million visits each year.
Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains “Brooklyn’s Backyard,” working in partnership with the city of New York. The Alliance was founded in 1987 to help restore the park after a long period of deterioration and decline. Today, the Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home. The Alliance cares for the woodlands and natural areas, restores the park’s buildings and landscapes, creates innovative park destinations, and provides free or low-cost volunteer, education, and recreation programs.
Today, Prospect Park is an international model for the care of urban parks, and one of the premier green spaces in the United States.
MPB transforms the way that people buy, sell and trade photo and video gear. As the largest global platform for used photography and videography equipment, MPB is a destination for everyone, whether you’ve just discovered your passion for visual storytelling or you’re already a pro.
Founded by Matt Barker in 2011, MPB has always been committed to making gear more accessible and affordable, and helping to visualize a more sustainable future. MPB recirculates more than 485,000 used products every year, extending the life and creative potential of photo and video equipment for creators around the world.
Headquartered in the creative communities of Brooklyn, Brighton and Berlin, the MPB team includes trained camera experts and seasoned photographers and videographers who bring their passion to work every day to deliver outstanding service.
Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.
In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.
By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.
Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.
For more information about Photoville visit, www.photoville.com
The Brooklyn Connection
Curated by: Jamel Shabazz
LocationsView Location Details Lefferts House, Prospect Park
452 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11225
Location open 24 hours
This exhibition is made possible thanks to the generous support of MPB
The Brooklyn Connection artist talk
Join us for an exploration and discussion of work from the incredible photographers selected by curator Jamel Shabazz to be part of The Brooklyn Connection exhibition.Learn More