Bronx native photographer, Alex Rivera, is helping fellow ‘bronxers’ see the existing beauty of the borough.
Through his photo project ‘The Bronxer,’ the 24-year-old has loaned his photography and graphic design skills to document the borough.
“Many Bronx natives don’t realize the gem they have,” said Rivera.
He explained, his photos aim to preserve the borough as it stands in the present day because of the rapid uptick in new developments changing the physical look of the Bronx.
The photographer started his project in January 2016, but the influence for it began with his upbringing in the borough.
Rivera was born near Mosholu Parkway, raised in Hunts Point, and spent a great deal of his time with family near Grand Concourse.
He developed a keen eye for the different styles and flavors of the people from each neighborhood and the uniqueness of even the most ordinary of places.
“The Bronx is not a wasteland,” Rivera added. “I want to help people realize what’s around them so they can embrace new ideas.”
His photo log includes everyday sights and movements of trains, flowers in local parks, cars driving along highways, and ‘bronxers’ and bronxites alike.
“People are worried about so many other aspects of their life,” said Rivera. “They don’t pay attention to the details of buildings or street signs.”
Drawn from every smell, sound, and pattern across the borough, he created a platform to help others in the borough see what he’s done.
“If I can walk down the street and show the beauty of a plain wall, I’ve done my job,” explained Rivera.
Alex used the title ‘The Bronxer,’ a term of his own crafting, to describe his project as for those not just from the borough, but those who experience and embody it.
The ‘bronxer’ himself has even collaborated with local organizations like Edible Bronx and the Bronx Brewery to add to his collection and classification of being a ‘bronxer.’
All his work is showcased online and on his Instagram page for free as an effort to educate those in the borough and around the world what the Bronx is all about.
In 2018, some of the photos in ‘The Bronxer’ were published in a photography book at a store in Amsterdam, Netherlands, titled ‘Streets of New York.’
“The Bronx isn’t a warrior movie and it’s much bigger than it looks and feels,” said Rivera, who admitted starting the project has helped him see more of the Bronx than he had before.
With many of his photographs, he includes information on the people, places, or things being shown, a task that he said has helped him learn and explore more about the finer details of the community.
“The goal is to open your mind to see different things,” explained Rivera.
He compares his photography style as one that fits with National Geographic, a style he got the chance to learn up close and personal when he held an internship in college working with one of Nat Geo’s photographers.
Many of his photos test the eye to see different heights, using drones to capture aerial views of places like Third Avenue cross streets, Baychester Bay, and even the 174th Street Bridge.