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Photographer of the Week #162: Adeline Lulo

Adeline Lulo was born in Washington Heights, New York and raised in the Bronx. Her upbringing as a child spending summers in the Dominican Republic inspired her to photograph her motherland as well as her community in the Heights. She earned a BFA from Parsons School of Design and was selected for The New York Times Portfolio Review. Lulo was the recipient of the En Foco Photography Fellowship and William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship. Her work has also been recognized by Latin American Fotografia.

The different themes conveyed throughout the work address family values, class inequity, access to healthcare and poverty.

“The Dominican Republic is a place I call home. My childhood was filled with many fond memories of playing and running around in the campo (countryside). As a child I would spend my summers there. I couldn’t explain it, but I understood that my life in the Dominican Republic was very different from my life in New York. When I wasn’t chasing roosters or trying to catch lizards, I was eating mangos from my grandfather’s tree or shouting ‘se fue la luz’ when the lights when out.

Si Dios Quiere (God Willing) is an ongoing project that began in 2013 portraying the lives of families in the Dominican Republic, as well as Dominican immigrants living in the United States. The work is shaped around family, history and memory. When I was a child my parents took my sister and I home to their native land where they introduced us to our roots, family and friends. Once I was of legal age to work in U.S., my summer visits to my motherland came to an end. The project began as a way to reconnect with my friends, family and community. My mother would take me with her to visit the families, give clothing and pay respect to those who were ill. The custom of visiting everyone in the barrio (neighborhood) played a significant role in my childhood.”

Lulo records the resilience of communities as they persist through time. Family faces proudly smile or quietly stare  in photographs that hang on walls covered in bright, chipped paint; their stories are remembered in the echoed expressions of Lulo’s subjects. Many of these subjects make direct eye contact with the camera; there is an intimate sense that these histories are active collaborations. Even empty rooms and dining tables are filled with the presence of heirlooms that hold onto memories of generations past. Though these people might find themselves facing stark challenges in fading rooms, Lulo shows us that they boldly refuse to be forgotten.

For more of Adeline Lulo’s work visit her website: http://www.adelinelulo.com/

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