Photographer Preserves 'Dying Breed' in Brooklyn Community
For 15 years, photographer Russell Frederick captured the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn as the community, and its people, transformed around him.
For 15 years, photographer Russell Frederick captured the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, as the community, and its people, transformed around him. From new street lights and train renovations to displaced street vendors and rumors of rent increases, Frederick worked to preserve an image of the neighborhood he once knew nearly two decades ago.
ABOVE: Spring, 2011: Women are known for wearing elaborate hats on Easter Sunday and Mother's day in Bedford-Stuyvesant. These women are originally from the South and are members of First A.M.E. Zion Church. They were waiting for Access a Ride to take them home.
An exodus is underway and many people are being forced to the outskirts of the city and down south. A part of New York’s identity is vanishing. My photographs are a record of the "Dying Breed."
Summer, 2011: Angel and his girlfriend have been together a few months. I approached them as they were having a playful discussion about texting and not answering the phone.
With change coming to the community and the stigma of the neighborhood being a slum, I decided to make photographs that would honor the people I saw everyday.
Spring, 2012: Dr. Robert Gore, an emergency room physician at Kings County Hospital, wears a hoodie in honor of Trayvon Martin. The mural behind him is dedicated to Yusef Hawkins on Verona Place. Dr. Gore is also the executive director and founder of the Kings Against Violence Initiative intervention program in Brooklyn.
Fall, 2008: Shaun Robinson, a communications engineer originally from Trinidad and Tobago, on his new iPhone in front of the Victorian bed & breakfast. The Victorian is currently on the market for 6 million.
Bedford-Stuyvesant was the place I called home for 18 years until I could no longer afford to live there. The change that is underway might be considered gentrification. Some might say its progress or others might say its economics.
Summer, 2006: SuparNova Slom is a rapper, author, community activist, National Guard specialist and a Dream Director for the Future Project. On this hot summer day on Fulton Street, he shows off his tribute to the ancestors of Egypt.
Summer, 2014: New Orleans native Stacey Muhammad is an award winning writer/director who was inspired by the work of Spike Lee. Her work includes the "For Colored Boys" web series and the "I Am Sean Bell" documentary film. Stacey moved from Bed-Stuy to Atlanta, Ga., this month because of the rising cost.
The once affordable, culturally diverse neighborhood has received some welcoming upgrades, but the rising cost of real estate and rent is driving out an increasing number of its black and brown residents.
Fall, 2013: Yaya Alafia, an actress, and Joshua Alafia, a filmmaker, enjoy a moment in Stuyvesant Park as they await their first child. The couple gave birth to a healthy baby boy a week after this photo was taken named Sankara Mamadou Bee Alafia.
Summer, 2006: Bed-Stuy has a global representation of Islam. On any given day you will see women of the Islamic faith in traditional dress, like these women from Bangladesh.
Summer, 2009: Neith Rasuten represents the island nation of Haiti. Nit Ra Sit has been designing clothes and other garments for over 15 years. Currently in Harlem, her design studio was on Nostrand Avenue until 2009.
Summer, 2004: Emma, a Ghana native, tells her daughter the ride is over. Emma did not want her picture taken because she felt she was not looking her best. I had to talk to Emma for 3 blocks until she let me photograph her.
Fall, 2010: Alzo Slade, a Houston, Texas native and a Bed-Stuy resident, on Howard Avenue. Alzo is a photographer and a comedian.
Spring, 2014: King Lion Boboshanti and his daughter Queen Omenga at a Mother’s day event at the Akawabaa Mansion in Bed-Stuy. King Lion is a Vegan raw food chef from Jamaica.
Summer, 2006: A family stops for a portrait before they enter a Santeria church on Fulton Street.
Winter, 2013: Uwalia Ahgedo, originally from the Edo tribe in Nigeria, is a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her name means wealth and riches. The "ankara" (skirt) is from her tribe.
Summer, 2014: Two friends stop for a portrait at Spike Lee’s block party. Twenty-five years ago the film maker made “Do the Right Thing” in the neighborhood.
Fall, 2011: Michael Young poses for a portrait on Lexington Avenue before he enters church for Sunday school wearing his father’s brim.
Summer, 2005: Supreme teaches his stepson Tyshaun how to tie a tie for the first time. Supreme told me he loves being a stepdad. "A stepfather is a man that steps up to be a dad," he said.
Fall, 2010: Don Balladin, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, wears designs from his clothing line "Swagstar Nation." The mural behind him is of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. on Franklin Avenue. The murder of the hometown product has yet to be solved since 1997.
Winter, 2010: Mr. & Mrs. Pritchett met at Morgan State University, where Mr. Pritchett was a chemistry instructor and Mrs. Pritchett was a student. The couple has lived in Bedford-Stuyvesant for over 40 years. Mr. Pritchett died in 2012, and this was their last photo on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Summer, 2005: Mo, an Air Force veteran, returns home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The neighborhood has its share of veterans. Many have American flags draped outside their homes. Mo now works for Con Edison as a splicer.