New York Photographer Elias Williams was tasked this summer to capture the creativity and leadership of men who have been harmed by gun violence, and who are all part of the OPEN DOORS arts and justice initiative. He is based at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler, a long-term care facility on Roosevelt Island where many of the members live and work. The members of the group use storytelling, hip-hop, and spoken word to challenge audiences to combat the injustice that breeds violence in New York City neighborhoods.
The members of the organization, some of them known as Reality Poets, return to the neighborhoods where they grew up, inform young people about the rarely considered consequences of gun violence, and encourage them to become positive change makers.
This collaboration, proudly produced and commissioned by United Photo Industries, with support from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, has been inspired by the Visible Ink, a writing program for Memorial Sloan Kettering patients, and OPEN DOORS in collaboration with NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler’s Department of Therapeutic Recreation.
Elias Williams is a New York City-based photographer whose work honors under-represented people in the United States. Through portraiture and long-form essays, he studies the cultural and historical significance of everyday people within these communities.
His photographs have been showcased at the International Photo Festival Leiden, the Morris Museum, and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Elias is also a contributing photographer to AARP, Bloomberg Markets, NPR, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal among others.
Williams is also a 2017 Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellow, and 2017 recipient of the Bronx Council on the Arts’s Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) award, and he is currently participating in the 2020 World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass.
Founded in 2008, Visible Ink is the largest writing program of its kind, serving Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) patients of all ages and backgrounds: during treatment, after treatment, and throughout long-term survivorship. The program is free of charge, and it is also open to MSK staff, caregivers, and those healing from loss. Visible Ink now welcomes participants from the New York City Hospitals (Coler, Queens Cancer Center, and Kings County Hospital).
Research has shown that expressive writing can reduce stress, nurture confidence and creativity, and enhance overall well-being. Visible Ink mentors help participants advance their creative horizons in any form they choose, from fiction, poetry, essay, drama, memoir, and beyond.
More than 2,400 participants have enrolled since the program began, producing more than 75,000 pages of writing, and more than 250 mentors have shared their expertise, including bestselling novelists, Tony and Emmy Award winners, poets, journalists, teachers, and editors for major print and online publications.
Each year Visible Ink publishes an anthology, and stages a performance of works by participants that features stars from Broadway, film and TV. Recent performers include Tony and Emmy Award-winning actors David Hyde Pierce, Debra Monk, Susan Lucci, and Hamilton star Marc delaCruz.
NYC Media & Entertainment
The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment’s mission is to support and strengthen New York City’s creative economy and make it accessible to all. In 2019, the creative industries accounted for more than 500,000 local jobs and have an economic impact of $150 billion annually. MOME comprises five divisions: the Film Office, which coordinates on location production throughout the five boroughs; NYC Media, the city’s official broadcast network and production group; the Office of Nightlife, which supports the city’s nighttime economy; the Press Credentials Office, which issues press cards; and Programs and Initiatives to advance industry and workforce development across NYC’s creative sectors.
United Photo Industries (UPI)
United Photo Industries (UPI) is a New York based nonprofit organization that works to promote a wider understanding of, and increased access to, the art of photography.
Since its founding in 2011, UPI has rapidly solidified its position in the public art landscape by continuing to showcase thought-provoking, challenging, and exceptional photography from across the globe. In its first seven years, UPI has presented the work of more than 2,500 visual artists in gallery exhibitions and public art installations worldwide.
Featuring: Elias WilliamsView Location Details Number 1 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map Brooklyn Bridge Park – Emily Warren Roebling Plaza
1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
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Featuring: El, Jay, King Tito Love, Mike, Peter, Roy, Var and Vince