Through my photographs I seek out the vulnerability and fantasy of living in a small island community seen through the eyes of the young women and girls who reside there. The community is Broad Channel, Queens and it’s a lifestyle conditioned by water, vulnerable to storms, tides, changing weather, and yet, in close proximity to one of the largest urban centers, New York City. Broad Channel is a multi-generational, mostly blue-collar neighborhood with a rich history of being resistant to change. There is this enduring fantasy of living near the water that is in direct opposition to the reality. The residents love living by the water, but there exists a delicate balance between the community and the natural environment. As the effects of climate change shake this balance, the community has been confronted with the harsh reality that their home and community may not be as secure and idealistic as they think it to be.
I began documenting the community in 2012, several months before Hurricane Sandy imbued the project with unforeseen turmoil. Flooding from the storm devastated the community; many lost their homes and possessions. The arduous recovery underscores the conflict of living close to the water, especially when leaving, to them, is not an option.
I am particularly drawn to the young girls and teenagers in Broad Channel because, like their environment, they are in a transitional place with an uncertain future. There is a subtle border between defiance and vulnerability. The fragile state between adolescence and adulthood mirrors the changing environment that is affecting this island community.
The settings and themes I seek out are those of change or transition, often to imply notions of loss and hope at once. I investigate what it means to live a life removed. I work with photography as a lens for understanding people, to merge with them psychologically and place myself in their environs, and I hope that viewers see my projects not only as documents of time and place, but also as avenues for self-reflection.