Most families don’t have their parents’ FBI files in dusty boxes. Mine does.
This project describes the legacy of my parents’ participation in radical leftist groups, including Weatherman and the Native American Solidarity Committee, which sought to overthrow imperialism and capitalism through organizing and revolution.
My parents believed that another world was possible, that together they could forge a more just future for humanity. Their utopian dreams of Marxist-Leninism, feminism, and fairness are deeply compelling — but intensely rigid.
They fell in love while planning a 60,000-person demonstration in 1976. (Friends joked it would never last — my mom was a Marxist, my dad an anarcho-communist.) The story of their activism is the story of me.
This heritage inspires me, but it can also be oppressive, with enormous pressure to hew to the party line. Our family unit was its own political movement, nation-state, culture, and system of belief.
Mainstream histories of Weatherman focus on curdled utopianism, charismatic individuals, flower children gone druggy and dark. But my family’s archive offers a fuller understanding. Violence and dogma played their part in the movement, but so did a beautiful dream of shared labor, equity, and justice. This project shows unyielding expectations, but also familial love and loyalty, humor, and a search for nuance.
How can I live up to these expectations? Do I want to? Which parts of these perspectives will I keep, and which will I discard?
Alice Proujansky is a documentary photographer and writer covering family labor: birth, work, motherhood, and identity.
She is now working on a Hard Times are Fighting Times photo book, photo essays about culturally-responsive birth work, and photography and visual literacy workshops.
Proujansky has taught photography since 2002 and was the lead curriculum writer for On Sight, Aperture’s photography and visual literacy curriculum. Her first book, Go Photo! An Activity Book for Kids was published by Aperture.
Proujansky grew up in Greenfield, MA. She graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Department of Photography and Imaging and lives in Brooklyn with her family.
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
Hard Times are Fighting Times
Featuring: Alice Proujansky
LocationsView Location Details Brooklyn Bridge Park – New Dock Street
New Dock Street and Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
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Location open 24 hours
Produced with support from the Magnum Foundation.
Photoville Education Field Trips: Alice Proujansky
Featuring photographer Alice Proujansky discussing his exhibition Hard Times are Fighting TimesLearn More