The team at WORTHLESSSTUDIOS is back for a new iteration of FREE FILM, returning to their Airstream-turned-darkroom and seemingly endless supply of free film to answer the question of what happens within one square mile of a community.
The prompt of “ONE SQUARE MILE” will be documented amongst multiple NYC neighborhoods over the course of 18 months and will provide evidence of the complexities and differences amongst different communities within the same city.
The steps of FREE FILM: NYC are simple. First, when a new neighborhood is launched, photographers can pick up a roll of film, fill out a sign-up form to join, and celebrate the kick off wherever the Airstream-darkroom is parked. Then the participating photographers will have a month to shoot their roll of film as per the prompt. The participants are to return their roll of film to WORTHLESSSTUDIOS for free processing and scanning. Finally, images will be selected by the team to be published into a hardcover book similar to what they’ve done for their last three iterations of the project.
The first neighborhood the team headed to in June was Red Hook, Brooklyn where they partnered up with local arts nonprofit Pioneer Works. There they were able to host the Airstream-darkroom, distribute film, and teach photography classes to locals of all ages. Pioneer Works’ Artist-in-Residence also taught a series of workshops for 5 Red Hook Arts Project students and interested Red Hook locals.
“The Red Hook images illustrate the loneliness, dignity, and complexity of a neighborhood which has always been isolated geographically, quietly experiencing and responding to change, and alongside other neighborhoods. Yet, these images could only be Red Hook, taken by those who call it home,” Marcia Santoni, Executive Director of WORTHLESSSTUDIOS, said.
The project was founded by Neil Hamamoto back in 2019 and led to a road trip of the Airstream-darkroom across the United States. With his team, they distributed nearly 1600 rolls of 35 mm film and developed over 40,000 images throughout 18 cities across the country which were eventually curated into a book. A year later the organization held FREE FILM: JUNE 2020 which was a global initiative that produced documentation of protests, the pandemic, and everything in between through the eyes of participating photographers.
The projects are described as, “a series of initiatives that sought to catalog our communities, our country, and our world over the past three years in radically different ways, while democratizing the documentation of our ever-shifting realities.”
FREE FILM: NYC follows the footsteps of the previous iterations with the intent of being a meditation on community and local culture. On top of providing free film and processing, the organization will also provide equipment so that students will learn how to use a film camera as well as process and print film through youth workshops.
“When we kick off a new iteration of FREE FILM I always take time to reflect on the time that has passed since our last project and think about just how much has changed. I’m excited for FREE FILM: NYC to engage our hometown photographers and push them to do the same,” Neil Hamamoto said.