Tuesday, May 15, 2007

NYChildren and Danny Goldfield's Dive Into the Melting Pot

This little boy's name is Basim. He lives in New York City with his parents. His parents are from Iraq. Basim's face is immortalized on the cover of LIFE Magazine because of Danny Goldfield's photography project, NYChildren.

After Danny received his MFA from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles in 2004, he moved back to Brooklyn where he concieved the idea for his next project. People come from all over the world to live in New York City and possibly at any given time each nation of the world might be represented among the families of the five boroughs.

Danny set out to candidly photograph one child from each nation of the world, with a few criteria, of course. The child had to be twelve or under, have parental permission, be either born in another country or both his parents were born in the same non-US country, and now resides in New York City.

So far he has photographed 148 children and is searching for the remaining 46. Some of the tiny elusive representatives he searching for are from Burundi, Djibouti, and Qatar, countries that most Americans rarely think about and maybe don't even know exist.

His ultimate misson is to gather and nuture an inclusive group of children and plan events where they and their families can form cross-cultural friendships. At the end of the project, his dream event is to have an opening in a museum where all of the participating families and children are invited to gather, meet each other, and view all the photographs for the launch of the exhibit.

Even while the work is in progress, he has had mini-exhibits where the families brought their children together to draw on the sidewalk and listen to a jazz band outside the cafe where the photos were being shown.

Danny may not have realized he was launching a humanitarian project but what else could it be called? To show the sweet faces from all over the world, living in one city shows us that we are indeed all alike in the ways that truly count. Families, no matter color, religion, or culture experience the same joy in their children, the same sympathy when they cry, the same frustration at tantrums, and the same exhileration at their laughter. How could we possible hurt each other if we understand this basic truth?

From one mother in Nevada, thanks Danny Goldfield for a unique pictorial that is as important to the photographed child as it is to the viewer. To see a slide show of some of the NYChildren go to www.nychildren.org.

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