How Gentrifying Photographers Can Be Responsible Story Tellers

There’s a meaningful conversation photographers need to have about the power and impact of gentrification.

I’ll never forget the 1st time I encountered it after moving to New York City. I was on the train, working for a wedding photographer in Coney Island. An irate minority man barked, “Go back to Manhattan where you belong, white girl.” I was both deeply saddened and deeply grateful for this exchange. It was horribly uncomfortable but, it’s about time that feeling gets flipped on white folks. It was also an important wake-up call to a rural hick-chick from farm country, Pennsylvania. This was my first exposure to how deeply divided and segregated the city can be, to how much more complex the issue is than most photographers realize. I knew, as an emerging photographer, I was no more capable of affording Manhattan rent prices than this man was. But also, my moving to Brooklyn possibly impacted him by making a neighborhood where he may have spent his whole life less affordable for him.

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