Scars of Racism

Scars of Racism

31 Jul 2019 CONTAINERS
Aerial shot of street

Featuring: Travis Fox

Presented by

Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and PSC-CUNY


Scars of Racism seeks to document the lasting physical reminders of racism on the American landscape. The legacy of racism exists throughout our society–in culture, language, and economics. With these photos I’m attempting to highlight how institutional racism of the past is present today.

In the last several years, there has been substantial reporting about how discriminatory housing policy fueled the massive wealth gap that exists today. White families’ wealth is as much as ten times higher than that of African-American families.

The project is also an exploration of how we observe. Compositionally, shooting from a few hundred feet directly above, decades of history fuse together to become a flattened plane, the abstract details of the past scratched onto roofs, streets, and sidewalks.

In turn, the act of viewing these images becomes an active questioning of the image. For a moment we are at a loss visually, with no sense of perspective, scale, or recognition other than the fragmented clues of marks on a landscape. The images challenge the brain and require us to look more carefully. In doing so, it prompts us to consider our relationship not only to the unfamiliar landscape, but to our history as well.


Travis Fox is an aerial photographer and the Director of Visual Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York (CUNY).

In his role at the J-School, he oversees the Photojournalism, Documentary, Broadcast and Web Video programs. He also teaches the only Drone Journalism course on the East Coast.

Before drones and academia, Fox was recognized for helping establish a new form of video storytelling on the Internet. His short films for The Washington Post and FRONTLINE were described by Studio 360’s Kurt Andersen as “ambitious, subtle, tough, and remarkably beautiful.” Legendary television producer Tom Bettag adds: “extraordinary, sensitive and insightful.”

In 2006, Fox received the first Emmy Award presented to a web video producer. He was also the first and only person to win both the Editor of the Year and Videographer of the Year awards from the White House News Photographers Association. He has won dozens of National Press Photographers Association and Pictures of the Year International awards, and has been nominated for a total of eight Emmys.

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