Seis del Sur: Shutterbugs Capture Bronx History

By Randell Evans

The Bronx Documentary Center is hosting an exhibition called “Seis del Sur: Dispatches From Home by Six Nuyorican Photographers” from January 19 to March 8. The presentation is a collage of black and white photographs that captures the essence of the South Bronx community.

Edwin Pagan, Francisco Molina Reyes II, Ricky Flores, Joe Conzo Jr., Angel Franco and David Gonzalez comprise the group Seis del Sur, which means six of the south, referring to the South Bronx.

In the exhibition, the six “Nuyorican” (Puerto Ricans born in New York) photographers showcase their different styles with snapshots of the South Bronx in the 1980s.

Seis del Sur web site

Photographer Edwin Pagan’s photos tell a story about the individuals living in the community. One of his pictures shows an older woman carrying grocery bags while walking under a gritty train trestle. In the image, she appears to be struggling to carry the bags.

“The excitement of controlling the image in the dark room is like magic,” Pagan said. “There is a certain mystery in creating an image out of nothing.”

Mike Kamber, the Documentary Center’s founder, says he hopes these photos help educate neighborhood residents about their history.

“We are trying to reach out to the community through documentary work that can resonate with the community because it is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the U.S.,” Kamber said.

The center opened in 2011 aiming to provide instruction in photography and film, along with technical skills and educational facilities. The group has worked with many different schools and organizations like the Bronx Leadership Academy and the Bronx Academy of Letters.

Harlem resident James Topp, who grew up in the Bronx, attended the exhibit and said the Seis del Sur inspired him to become interested in art and in the history of the Bronx.

“Not everybody had the opportunity to go to school and this was the way some of us learned about our surroundings,” Topp said.

The Bronx Documentary Center is located at 614 Cortlandt Avenue (151 Street) just a few blocks away from Yankee Stadium.

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