Anderson Ranch’s Advanced Mentored Study Program in photography
Project info

Erika P. Rodriguez

Erika P. Rodriguez is a freelance photographer based in Puerto Rico who focuses on stories of community and identity.

Instagram @erikaprodriguez 

“The Oldest Colony”

Puerto Rico is a small island in the Carribean that belongs to the United State but is not part of it, according to the Supreme Court’s definition of the “ unincorporated territory. ” This political status, along with 500 years of colonization, has forged a cultural limbo. We have a rich culture, but we don’t know who we are.

Through photographing the Puerto Rican landscape and daily experiences I want to provoke discussion about the quest for our freedom, our identity and our future.

Amber Bracken is a photographer based in Edmonton who focuses on telling stories about the experiences of indigenous peoples.

“7 Generations”

In the 140 years since the Canadian Indian Act became law, the fracture of tradition has resulted in grievous consequences for indigenous people: they have suffered homelessness, trauma, poverty, racism, abuse, criminalization and addiction. But a Plains Cree prophecy, with specific predictions for each generation, says that while the fifth and sixth generations will continue to struggle, members of the seventh generation will regain their true identities as spiritual and sacred people. This story looks at the young indigenous members of the sixth generation, still marginalized but healing and looking hopefully to the future.

Focusedprimarily in and around Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the work follows the lives of young mainly Cree people both on and off the reserve. In all places, they are facing continued oppression and the aftershocks of trauma in their own lives and those of their parents. In the city, they have found community, identity and expression in hip hop culture. In the country, youth are overcoming limitations by deep connections to traditional ways. In both paths there is strength, struggle and optimism but never a denial of the injustices that have brought them here.

Salwan Georges
BIO: Salwan Georges is a staff photojournalist at the Detroit Free Press in Michigan.

Iraqi Refugees in Michigan

I left Baghdad with my family when I was 8 years old. For years, we tried to escape Saddam Hussein’s regime and come to the U.S. Finally, in the late 1990s we escaped to Jordan and after arrived in Syria. We lived for six years inside a Christian Orthodox monastery just outside of Damascus, before we were allowed to come to the U.S. to metro Detroit, where my father’s extended family lived. My family's goal in leaving Iraq was like that of many others who come to the U.S. as refugees: they wanted to build a better life for their family and a better future for their children. My family’s decision to build a life in the U.S. has given me a chance to pursue my dreams.

My long-term project documents the lives and struggles of Iraqi refugees in the Detroit area as they face new challenges and opportunities. First, I started covering the Iraqi Shia community in Dearborn, Michigan. Some of the members of the community have recently arrived and others are refugees that have escaped the Saddam Hussein genocide during the Post- Uprising massacres of 1991.