Preteen Summer Class: ICP at THE POINT!

It’s summer at THE POINT and the preteen photo class has been having a blast! Our summer theme is Photography Impact. Here at THE POINT one of our missions is environmental and food justice. We’ve explored THE POINT’s garden and campus where they grow everything from basil and peppermint to tomatoes and strawberries.  We’ve seen how THE POINT itself has an impact on the community. With that in mind, our young photographers have taken to their neighborhoods to explore what they like and don’t like, what they observe on a daily basis, and how they can use photography to share that with the rest of the world.

In the spirit of impact we were grateful to have guest artist Michael Santiago join our class for a visit. Michael’s work is deeply rooted in exploring issues concerning people of color and their communities. He shared work from his start in photography to current projects and commissions. It is wonderful each time a guest artist visits, especially when the students are able to relate on a personal level.  For Michael it is important to not only do the work that provides an honest and genuine representation of his subjects, but also to show youth in communities of color that someone just like them can be powerful, impactful, and successful.


All photos, credit: Isabel Figueroa and Roy Baizan

Mount Sinai 2016

This year in our Community Partnership with Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center, we focused on our personal evolutionary goals through photography, group psychotherapy, writing, and public speaking.

On the first day of class, we set out on our journey by creating partner portraits to photograph our evolutionary goals.  This assignment introduced us to DSLR cameras. During the shoot, we shot worm’s eye views, bird’s eye views, representational portraits, and communicating our ideas through gesture. This shoot helped us face personal issues that are going on in our lives, and in the world we live in.

For our Guest Artist’s visit, we were lucky enough to visit Lyle Ashton Harris’s studio to look at his work and discuss his life experience as an artist.  After he shared his work with our class, we each shared our work in progress with him for critique and dialogue. The experience was enriching for all of the participants and staff.

In our studio shoot at ICP, we each created a self-portrait of what our image of success looks like after achieving our evolutionary goals. The experience was incredibly therapeutic and enriching to our projects.


Dammien working with ICP Faculty member Jaime Schlesinger to make a portrait in the studio. Credit: Richard Burrowes


David posing for his studio portrait. Credit: Richard Burrowes


Spring Visit to the BDC

This semester our Monday & Tuesday preteen classes recently joined forces for a visit to the Bronx Documentary Center. Photographer Nina Robinson greeted our young photographers and gave them a tour of her exhibit Not Forgotten: An Arkansas Family Album.


Her project explores familial relationships and community in a time of loss and togetherness. At THE POINT we focus a great deal on the importance of community and what that means to our students. Nina discussed her inspiration for heading home with her camera and the experience of being present as a person and as a photographer. The two classes truly came together as one in their curiosities and inquiries. We must thank Nina for being so naturally engaging and connecting with us all!

All photo credits: Ruby Tull, ICP Teaching Assistant


HSFI 2016 Wrap-Up

This year our Community Partnership with the High School of Fashion Industries was a huge success! Our final exhibition, Designing the Future, opened in late April and will be up through next fall. Check out some of the highlights of student work on ICP’s website.


Students, teachers, and families enjoying the 2016 opening of Designing the Future


Students enjoying and discussing the exhibition.


Photos of photos of photos!


Opening remarks from (left to right) Jaime Schlesinger and Curtis Willocks, both ICP Faculty, Lacy Austin, ICP Director of Community Programs, and Daryl Blank, HSFI Principal.


Ben Russell, ICP and HSFI faculty, speaking with the crowd about this year’s classes.


Student speakers from Photo I and Photo II share their experiences as students in the after-school Photo Club.


Cheers to a great year!

All photo credits: Ruby Tull

Guest Artist Visit with Rhynna M. Santos

This semester, our Monday preteen class had a Guest Artist visit with Rhynna M. Santos. Rhynna is an active social photographer and talked about her experience documenting the Bronx community, where she aims to challenge stereotypical interpretations of the Bronx. She also shares her work when turning the camera toward her own family, and documents the memories and day-to-day moments in her father’s life.


Rhynna Santos speaking with our preteen students about her work as a Bronx-based photographer. Credit: Elena Hermosa, ICP Faculty

During Rhynna’s presentation, the students were able to engage in the content of her photos, and asked a lot of questions about street photography, how to engage with people, and ethical issues in photography.


Rhynna credits the work of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (Las Dos Fridas (1939) shown here) as one of her great artistic inspirations. Credit: Elena Hermosa


Rhynna speaking with our students about the importance of looking at different photo books. Credit: Elena Hermosa

Rhynna talked about the work of the Bronx Photo League, a project of the Bronx Documentary Center, where 18 Bronx-based photographers are committed to documenting social issues and change in our borough.

Rhynna is also the curator of the @everydaybronx Instagram feed, so we discussed the role of social media in photography and storytelling. Rhynna encouraged the students to share photos that talk about the community and the neighborhood. Everyday Bronx has more than 26,000 followers from around the world, and aims to tell the complex stories of everyday life in the Bronx.

Rhynna's work 1

Rhynna Santos, The Storm Before the Calm, 2013.                                                                                   A view of the Simpson Street subway platform in the South Bronx.

Rhynna's work 2

Rhynna Santos, Halloween Ride, 2014.                                                                                          Children and their families trick or treat on Halloween 2014 in the Soundview area of the Bronx.

Rhynna's work 3

Rhynna Santos, Papi Pays Respects to Abuela, 2016.                                                                         Latin music composer and arranger Ray Santos (Rhynna’s father) pays his respect to his mother on Mother’s Day 2016 at Saint Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx.

Rhynna is also the founding member of The Bronx Women’s Photo Collective which promotes women in photography and encourages the importance of documenting the Bronx.

Rhynna says: “I had a wonderful time as a Guest Artist at ICP at THE POINT preteen class. Being a Bronx based photographer, it is a joy and privilege to be able to talk about the art of photography with Bronx kids.”

If you want to know more about our Guest Artist and the projects she is involved with, follow the links below.

Rhynna M. Santos

  • Instragram:
  • Twitter:
  • Facebook:

Everyday Bronx

The Bronx Photo League

The Bronx Women’s Photo Collective


Group shot of our Monday preteens, TAs, and faculty with Rhynna!



Field Trip to the Bronx Museum

This spring, our ICP at THE POINT Wednesday teens took a field trip to The Bronx Museum to see the exhibition Bronx Focus: Paintings by Valeri Larko. Reflecting on our class discussions of community, students were able to see the continuation of our dialogue through their experience at the museum. The adoration of graffiti has been shared by many across the world and also has served as one the main aesthetics of New York City imagery, often stemming from the Bronx. Though Valeri Larko has chosen a different medium than photography, students were able to relate to the oil paintings in terms of landscape, color, texture, and composition. Looking at the details of the landscape that were included by Larko, students were able draw up an expansive conversation as well as tap into the understanding of visual language.IMGP6947We asked our students to reply to the exhibition. Here are some of their responses:

Anthony: During the field trip , I experienced a various amount of paintings that resembled the area of observation, in which they resonated with me as an artist

Maiya: I [saw a painting] of a girl in Knights clothing with graffiti as her background. It reminded me of the movie ‘Rubble Kings’ because of how all the gangs viewed each other and viewed their families within the Bronx area. I also compared it to ‘Fresh Dressed’ by viewing the Knights clothing as a way females express [themselves] within their environment. 

Patricia: During this field trip I experienced different types of artwork that were based on my community. I really liked how [many] details were put into these paintings and the stories behind the paintings were very interesting.


Katherine: On this trip I have seen other peoples’ perspectives on a certain place in their community. For graffiti,I have always had a passion for it. I have always enjoyed people’s work and their different types of fonts.

Saul: This picture really makes me think about how the artist first gets really immersed in the picture and [she] has to paint it as it is. This reminds me of how as a community, people would come here to fish, as the caption says. As a community you sometimes all have one thing that brings you together; sometimes unexpected events happen that break up the common interest. But then again, that is what sometimes [is] necessary to be able to reconnect and find more bonds. Another point is how the port is still there and you can pass by it to reminisce and feel the nostalgia, instead of just placing some building that ruins the sentimental value.


This and all photos, credit: Alex Joseph, ICP Teaching Assistant


Friends of Island Academy & CASES Wrap-Up

We’re so deeply proud of our students from ICP’s Community Partnership with Friends of Island Academy & CASES, who shone so brightly for their final presentations and exhibition this week! Many thanks to all the staff involved in such critical collaboration, and to all the family and friends who came out to support! And most of all, we thank our young photographers, writers, and leaders of tomorrow – for sharing their truths and talents!

Here’s to giving all of our young people as many opportunities and tools as possible to express themselves, tell their stories, and become their dreams!


Final group shot with the whole ICP-Friends-CASES team!