South Bronx Trades: 2010-present
My work focuses on communities. I think of my work as artistic documents revealing communities I care about which I set out to portray in an intimate manner.
My first project ‘Teen Tribe’ is intimate portraits of the lives of my two adolescent sons and their group of friends, which was my community from 2005 to 2010. A book published by Steidl will come out in 2016.
This project ‘South Bronx Trades’ (2010-on-going) is an artistic document on the industrial communities of Port Morris and Hunts Point, in danger of being dislocated by the sudden gentrification of the South Bronx. I began the project in 2010 soon after I moved my studio there. I did not want to focus on the difficulties and familiar, grim visual clichés associated with The Bronx. There are over 800 businesses in the area, employing over 20,000 workers and it is also one of the poorest congressional districts of the nation-some 6 miles from Times Square.
This large body of work is comprised of 23 completed Trades.
Some of the industries I photographed are centuries old and some are decidedly 21st century. I affirm both the artistry and every-day heroics of people whose work entails craft and bodily labor. On the one hand, I focus on industrial steel production and scrap metal recycling. On the other hand, I portray artisanal family trades like baking, hand-made bedding or flower wholesalers.
As Ms. Biondi – ex Visuals Editor of The New Yorker and Independent Curator of my Trades solo show in 2013 remarks: “Ms. Fougeron decided to cover photographically each trade in four different ways. Her compelling portraits focus on the working people; her striking landscapes place the project geographically; her environmental pictures are both informative and reflective; and her close-ups are simply beautiful abstractions. Together it adds up to a remarkable artistic document of Port Morris and Hunts Point.”
This project functions on many levels as art, as public art, as documentary, and importantly as an agent of social engagement. The industrial vitality of The South Bronx community has never been shown and I am very proud to be able to put it on the map at a time when its survival is questioned by rezoning.