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IMPACT: A Trained Eye On The NYPD

Photographer Antonio Bolfo seeks to offer a more nuanced portrait of the life of a police officer assigned to patrol a housing project in the South Bronx.

  • police officers listen to a colleague cry for help over the radio

    Image 1 of 4

    Photo: Antonio Bolfo

    SOUTH BRONX, NEW YORK - JULY 7: Officers Weadock, Olivero and Suarino (left to right) helplessly listen to a colleague cry for help over the radio July 7, 2009 in Mott Haven neighborhood located in South Bronx, New York City. Because IMPACT cops patrol on foot and have no access to police vehicles, they are unable to respond to the officer in need of assistance. Mott Haven neighborhood is a low income residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwest Bronx between West 138th Street to East 149th Street. East 138th Street is the primary thoroughfare through Mott Haven. (photograph by Antonio Bolfo/Reportage by Getty Images)

  • officer lights a cigarette after inspecting bullet holes in glass

    Image 2 of 4

    Photo: Antonio Bolfo

    SOUTH BRONX, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 7: Officer Lane lights a cigarette after inspecting alleged .22 caliber bullet holes in a Mitchell housing project December 7, 2008 in Mott Haven neighborhood located in South Bronx, New York City. Gun violence is a major problem in the South Bronx and claims many young lives. A large number of kids under the age of seventeen are responsible for recent shootings due to the gang leaders' knowledge that youth offenders will do less time in jail. Mott Haven neighborhood is a low income residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwest Bronx between West 138th Street to East 149th Street. East 138th Street is the primary thoroughfare through Mott Haven. (photograph by Antonio Bolfo/Reportage by Getty Images)

  • officers respond to call on Halloween night

    Image 3 of 4

    Photo: Antonio Bolfo

    SOUTH BRONX, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 31: Officers Alba and Weadock (left to right) respond to a 911 call on Halloween in the Milbrook Housing Projects, where they are trying to distinguish between fake blood on the door and real screams coming from inside October 31, 2008 in Mott Haven neighborhood located in South Bronx, New York City. Mott Haven neighborhood is a low income residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwest Bronx between West 138th Street to East 149th Street. East 138th Street is the primary thoroughfare through Mott Haven. (photograph by Antonio Bolfo/Reportage by Getty Images)

  • police officers in the snow

    Image 4 of 4

    Photo: Antonio Bolfo

    SOUTH BRONX, NEW YORK - MARCH 2: Officer Alba, a veteran rookie cop, leads two brand new officers through their first snow storm in the projects March 2, 2009 in Mott Haven neighborhood located in South Bronx, New York City. Although Alba was supposed to spend only 6 months in IMPACT, after a year and a half he has just received orders for another six-month tour. Mott Haven neighborhood is a low income residential neighborhood geographically located in the southwest Bronx between West 138th Street to East 149th Street. East 138th Street is the primary thoroughfare through Mott Haven. (photograph by Antonio Bolfo/Reportage by Getty Images)

Event Information

IMPACT: Photographs by Antonio Bolfo

Photographs depict the officers assigned to a housing project in the South Bronx, as part of the NYPD's Operation Impact.


pictura gallery, 122 West Sixth Street, Bloomington, IN 47404

January 6-28, 2012

free

The photographer Weegee—a/k/a Arthur Fellig–worked the police beat on New York’s Lower East Side in the 1930s and 40s, documenting countless crime scenes for the tabloids. Weegee enjoyed a privileged status among reporters and photojournalists; in 1938 he was the only member of the New York press corps with a permit to have a portable police-band shortwave radio. The radio enabled the photographer—who would be compared to a Ouija board– to arrive on the crime scene even before the authorities to take his stark photos of death and devastation.

These days in New York, photographers are still working very closely with police. Antonio Bolfo, whose photos are currently on view at Bloomington’s pictura gallery, shares a thing or two with Weegee. For one, Bolfo is a member of the press corps. Represented by Reportage by Getty Images since 2009, his pictures have appeared everywhere from The New York Times to Time magazine. And, like Weegee, he has created a large body of work devoted to the police beat in New York.

Weegee trolled the Lower East Side, while Bolfo spent two years in an equally grim setting, following the cops assigned to a housing project in the South Bronx as part of the NYPD’s Operation Impact.  The program placed officers newly graduated from police academy into the areas of the city that had the highest crime rates.

As for Weegee on the Lower East Side, there would be no shortage of material for Bolfo in the South Bronx.

But instead of training his lens on the perps or the victims, Antonio was more interested in the cops.

Yaël Ksander

WFIU's Arts Desk Editor, Yaël seeks out and shepherds the stories of artists, musicians, writers, and other creative people. In addition, Yaël co-hosts A Moment of Science, writes essays for A Moment of Indiana History, produces Speak Your Mind (WFIU's guest editorial segment), hosts music and news hours throughout the week, and lends her voice to everything from accounting courses to nature documentaries. Yaël holds a MFA in painting from Indiana University, an MA in art history from Columbia University, and a BA from the University of Virginia, where she studied languages and literature.

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