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Alex Welsh February 15, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.

Hunters Point, San Francisco 2008

Alex Welsh (b. 1986, USA) is a recent graduate from San Francisco State University, where he majored in Photojournalism and minored in both History and Middle Eastern Studies.  His interest in documentary photography is in its ability to examine longstanding and systemic problems in society and establish a dialogue with audiences to confront those issues.  Over the last year, Welsh worked in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood photographing the issues such as poverty, criminalization, gang violence, and displacement surrounding the gentrification of the city’s last predominantly African American community. His clients include the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Oakland Tribune, The FADER, and FLYP Media.  Welsh is currently based in Brooklyn.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was taken in the Alice Griffith ‘Double Rock’ housing projects in Hunters Point.  I was driving into the projects with a rapper from the neighborhood when I saw the playground burning, so I started shooting this boy on his bike watching it burn.  A bunch of the kids from the neighborhood around me were upset, and as the fire department came and put it out, a group of girls approached me to ask if there was going to be a new playground put in.  It was a bit heartbreaking, and so I told them that I was sure they would replace it.  They got really excited and started asking me what kind of things where going to be in the new playground, but I told them I had no idea.”

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“Hunters Point is the last predominantly African-American neighborhood in San Francisco.  Out of all major cities in the United States, San Francisco is currently experiencing the fastest out-migration of African-Americans; who currently make up only six percent of the population compared to 14 percent in the past several decades.  With the Mayor and the Housing Authority fast-tracking the ‘revitalization’ of the southeastern neighborhood of the city, the remaining poor living in the public housing sprawls on the bay may see a community they have lived in for the past 60 years become too expensive for them to stay in. At the heart of gentrification, Hunters Point is plagued with many of the same issues as poor black communities all over the United States.  This project not only examines issues such as violence, poverty, and criminalization, but also the strength, perseverance, and hope of the youth in the neighborhood.”