Bronx-based artists and photographers are working together to create a picture of visual arts in the borough.
The Bronx Artist Documentary Project, spearheaded by Bronx artist Daniel Hauben, has photographers capturing the artistic process of painters, sculptures and other artists in an attempt to showcase and build the creative community in the Bronx.
The project, which involves 30 photographers and 70 artists, will be presented in an exhibit in September at the Andrew Freedman Home. Hauben also hopes to publish a book or catalog as a permanent record of the project, which he hopes will bring attention to art in the Bronx in addition to fostering creative connections.
Hauben worked with Bronx Documentary Center Director Michael Kamber to pair artists and photographers from a wide range of Bronx locations and artistic backgrounds.
“There’s just an unbelievable diversity of dynamic art happening here,” Kamber said.
Kamber said the challenge for the photographer is to take photos that successfully capture the artwork being made, the environment and the personality of the artist.
Robert Fass, a photographer in the project said the project is especially interesting because an artist’s process and space is usually very private.
“It’s an intrusion no matter how you cut it,” said Fass.
He said he tries to stay out of the artist’s way and pay close attention to the flow of their process, but he said photographers also have their own flow with their work.
“You become an unconscious partner in the process,” he said.
Fass is paired with artist Marguerite Chadwick-Juner and is photographing the making of her “Seacycles,” sculptural manipulations of plastic bottles. Chadwick-Juner said that while she was apprehensive about being photographed, Fass put her at ease.
“It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be,” she said.
She said she tried not to react to the camera because maintaining the authenticity of her process in the photographs was really important to her.
“I wanted people to see things being created,” she said.
She said she likes that the project allows people to get a glimpse of how art is made, brings attention to artists who work quietly, and connects artists who haven’t met before.
Kamber said the project has already created new creative relationships and collaborative efforts beyond the project’s photo shoots, and Hauben hopes the project also raises the public’s awareness of the cultural resources in the Bronx.
“Our fantasy is that this project can help foster a sense of community that’s a borough-wide experience,” Hauben said.