In the South Bronx of America featured photographs by Mel Rosenthal that were taken in the 1970s. These photos give you a look at how the Bronx was once a place that was wrecked literally. Blocks of the borough were broken down to piles of rubble, dust, and the last of the residents gripping onto what was left. As depressing as it sounds, Rosenthal captures more than just piles of rubble. He captures the pride behind the smiles of the residents as they stand in front of their home: The Bronx.
It can be seen that Rosenthal had a special connection with what he was capturing. Not only is he telling the story of the residents through this series but of himself. He grew up in the Bronx in the 1930s and 1940s, then returned in the 1970s only to see that his home has deteriorated. What's interesting about this series is that, you can see that the condition of the borough physically declined but the culture, energy, and smiles of its residents haven`t.
The 1976 work, "When I looked for her to give her the picture, her building had burned, and she had moved," centers on a smiling dark skin woman in a white dress posing as if she is elegantly dancing salsa. Other works, include a cuban deli shop owner smiling in front of his store`s fruit stand, a group of teenagers with shovels in hand attempting to plant a community garden, a nicely dressed mother and daughter standing in front a demolished building and more.
He skillfully displays the stories of the people and their drive to move forward while simultaneously telling the story of the land, its decreased value, and the reduction of city services it has suffered. It's a beautiful balance.