When one thinks of New York City they often imagine constant motion and an ever-changing landscape of businesses and restaurants. However, you head over the bridge into the southern portion of Brooklyn and you will find something very different. Brighton Beach, or “Little Odessa,” is a tight-knit Eastern European community full of immigrants that came over after the Soviet Union relaxed immigration policies in the 1970s.
Walking in this insular community I felt the heavy influence of tradition brought down through generations and the comfort that comes with the prominence of a venerable culture. With the “Brighton Beach” project I wanted to capture the unique ethos of this neighborhood primarily through the faces of the elderly residents that shaped it. Soviet life and immigration required a resilience and independence shared amongst these residents. In addition, in meeting the neighborhood’s younger members I recognized both what they carried with them from the older generations and how they with a similar fotitude might take the community in their own special direction.