PROJECT LIVES 2010-2015
For a generation, public housing in New York City had been portrayed by the media as a cesspool of crime and broken buildings. The imagery had convinced New York City and State that the projects were a losing game and backed away from the funding table. The inevitable result? More crime and disrepair, leading to even worse media treatment. The vicious cycle went on and on.
To break this dynamic, Seeing for Ourselves embedded itself in the agency operating the housing projects of New York City from 2010 to 2014, equipping and training hundreds of residents to document their lives photographically. The best images were combined with a backstory about public housing that amplified their power and the resultant manuscript was published by powerHouse in 2015. The work achieved global acclaim, multiple awards, and the support of prominent fans including former president Jimmy Carter and sitting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
More to the point, the new imagery placed before tens of millions of eyeballs by media replication of the photos encouraged New York City and State to resume funding of the housing projects.