A boy from Afghanistan drenches himself in water to battle the searing summer sun, while a girl from Sierra Leone glares intensely down the camera lens, her eyes far wiser than her tender years.
These stunning photographs capture faces of children from all over the world – yet every single image has been taken in New York City.
Photographer Danny Goldfield has spent seven years travelling through the five boroughs in a bid to take a picture of a child from every single country in the world.
His 169 images are now on display at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. He has just 24 countries to go.
‘To do the project, I traveled the world with my MetroCard,’ he told CBS.
The man’s brother had been gunned down in a hate crime following the September 11 terror attacks. Then, in 2002, another of his brothers was killed by a thief as he worked as a taxi driver in San Fransisco – yet he refused to lose his own life to fear.
‘Instead of receding from the world, he did quite the opposite,’ Goldfield said. ‘He bravely said to me that he was going to go out into the world and meet his neighbors.’
After meeting Sodhi, Goldfield returned home to New York and decided to start meeting his neighbors too, believing that his skill of photography would bring people from different country, ethnicity and religions together.
He got out into the communities and visited churches, mosques, restaurants, immigration centers and day care centers, and met with teachers, politicians, journalists, business people and students – which he said was ‘fitting with Rana’s prescription’.
The stunning results reveal just how diverse the city’s five boroughs are. New York is much more ethnically and culturally varied than the average U.S. city; 22 per cent of New York City residents are foreign born, compared to just 13 per cent across the entire U.S.
And nearly a third of all NYC residents speak a language that is not English at home, compared to 20 per cent of households across the country.
Among the photos, two British sisters giggle as they clamber over furniture in their New York City apartment, a girl from Angola grins as she leans back and laps up the city’s air.
Then large angelic eyes belonging to children from Brazil, Sierra Leone and Turkey gaze down the lens.
Goldfield also captures children on the move, with a tot from Canada taking a tumble and children from Sweden,
Sri Lanka and Jamaica, among others, enjoying toys at the city’s parks and playgroups, looks of happiness – and uncertainty – plastered across their faces.
When Goldfield photographs his subjects, he gives them little direction, hoping to capture exactly who they are.
‘Before I meet them, the most important thing is the country so I can scratch it off the list, but once I meet them, it becomes less important,’ he said.
‘Each one of these pictures, I hope, captures a specific moment that reveals the authentic spirit of who these children are.’
He recalled shooting Victor, a two-and-a-half-year-old boy from France, whose mother said loved sunsets and women.
‘We were taking the photos and the sun was setting and the light was beautiful and he was sitting on a bench and he was very happy,’ Goldfield said.
‘And then all of a sudden a very pretty woman came up to ask what we were doing and he went·he went nuts. That was the shot.’
Among the 169 faces is 16-year-old Yelyi Nordonne, a Nicaraguan orphan who was adopted and brought to the U.S. when she was seven.
‘Knowing that there are other kids that are from different places – and they’re actually living here – makes me feel welcome,’ Yelyi told CBS.
But Goldfield still has a few more faces to find, and welcomes suggestions to track them down.
He is looking for children from: Andorra, Benin, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Kiribati, Kuwait, Malawi, Maldives, Mauritius, Micronesia, Monaco, Mozambique, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Samoa, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Vanuatu.
New York’s children from around the world!
Child in the city: Yeshi, from Nepal, is just one of the 169 children in photographer Danny Goldfield’s NYChildren projectBaby, look at me: Karl-Robert, whose family is from Estonia, will also feature in a new exhibition in the JCC Comunity Center in ManhattanUnwilling subject: Josef from Syria kicks up a fuss as his picture is taken. The photographer said he tries to capture the children as naturally as possiblePerformance: Celia from Spain scrunches her face against her father’s as Goldberg takes her picture in New York CityCamera shy? Ethan from South Korea hides in a ball pond as the photographer, who also lives in New York, snaps awayNew home: Andreas from Cyprus looks down the lens with concern. Goldfield met the children through community groups, religious groups and immigration centersBaby steps: Nathaniel, whose family is from Canada, takes a tumble as he plays in a New York parkClose up: Goldfield also met his subjects, including this baby from Brazil, by appealing to journalists, students, politicians and teachersAt home: Eliza, who is from the United States, helps her family with some gardening at their New York homeTolerance: Goldfield, who also photographed this boy named Deniz from Turkey, hopes the photographs will allow New Yorkers of various backgrounds to come togetherThings are looking up: Yelyi was a Nicaraguan orphan who was adopted and brought to the U.S. when she was sevenHot child in the city: Waseem, from Afghanistan, drenches himself in water to ward off the city’s summer heatHome sweet home: This young girl from Angola takes in the New York air outside her homeAngelic: Basim from Iraq became one of Goldfield’s subjects after the photographer was inspired to learn more about his New York City neighborsAmerican dreaming: Rhianna peers out of a highrise window while Celeste’s hand creeps into the frame, left. The girls are both from the United KingdomIntense: Mariama, from Sierra Leone, poses for GoldfieldProject: Goldfield has published a book, which features Sarah from Ireland on its cover, and is still searching for the final 24 children
To see more of the pictures, and for more information about the photographer’s book, visit his website.
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