I came to Newburgh as a photographer 20 years ago and at once was drawn to the stately composure of the people.

Lucy's daughter final for Lucie

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Newburgh NY: Beauty and Tragedy

Newburgh, NY

In 1996, following a tip from a friend one day, I drove 20 miles from my home in Garrison, N.Y., to Newburgh. What I found there was unlike anything I had ever seen before.

I was immediately drawn to the crumbling Victorian houses, the neglected buildings, and, most strikingly, the unassuming grace of the people on the street. But when I tried to take my first photo, the subject told me to go away.
Still, I returned, and kept coming back for the next 20 years.

“Nobody has ever done quite this,” Kasterine says, “which is to say, ‘Look at these beautiful people’.”
— An Octogenarian\’s Opus: A Portrait Of Newburgh, N.Y.     The Picture Show, NPR

Additional photographs and information regarding the Newburgh project can be found at https://www.kasterine.com and by viewing this second video https://vimeo.com/123145033.

BACKGROUND

Twenty years ago I came to Newburgh as a photographer looking for people and places I wanted to see. In 2012, a book of my pictures Newburgh: Portrait of a City  was published and a display of mural size prints mounted on the wall of the Ritz Theater where they remain today. Soon after the exhibition opened, some of my subjects got in touch with me and described their lives since I photographed them: lives of crime, imprisonment, drug addiction, unemployment, teenage motherhood, poverty and violence.

Newburgh, once famous for its resplendent Victorian architecture and its high industrial output, is a city that lies 57 miles north of New York City. My current endeavor is a film, largely consisting of still photographs, about the citizens of downtown Newburgh – predominantly African Americans, who are trying to survive in a city with few jobs, much violence, poverty, neglect and corruption. Since the mid-1950s, when urban renewal began and then quickly failed, the city has been overlooked and ignored. It has sunk from a city so safe, so prosperous, so clean that in 1952 Look Magazine called it an “All-American city.” Now it is numbered amongst the most distressed.

TODAY

A continuation of my photographic project Newburgh: Portrait of a City, I began photographing again. This time I added audio and an emphasis on the crumbling buildings. Newburgh is one of America’s most dangerous cities with the highest violent crime rate per capita in New York State, yet it has welcomed me and has become my second home. Because my photos are displayed publicly in the center of the city a level of community ownership has taken place, which is unusual for an art exhibition. And due to this involvement, the documentary will have a collaborative aspect to it. Newburgh residents Veronica, aged 18, and Tavares, aged 23, are my camera and sound recording assistants.

I am asking for funding to complete the photography and editing. Items in the budget include: car rental, gas and meals, camera cards, post production software. Stipends to two assistants during photography and editing. Expenses for grass roots screenings are also included in the funding goal.

Any and all support for this campaign would be greatly appreciated, the final stretch of this project in Newburgh is approaching and we are seeking assistance in seeing it through. Thank you for considering my campaign.

All the best,

Dmitri Kasterine

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    A signed thank you Newburgh picture postcard.

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    A signed thank you Newburgh picture postcard.

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    A signed thank you Newburgh picture postcard.

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    A signed 8.5 x 11” photograph from the Newburgh collection.

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    A signed 11 x 14” photograph from the Newburgh collection and a signed 11 x 14” photograph from the photographer’s archive.

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    A signed 11 x 14” photograph from the Newburgh collection and a signed 11 x 14” photograph from the photographer’s archive, plus a signed copy of his book "Newburgh: Portrait of a City" and a DVD of the film.

  • Pledge $500.00

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    A signed 11 x 14” photograph from the Newburgh collection and a signed 11 x 14” photograph from the photographer’s archive, plus a signed copy of his book "Newburgh: Portrait of a City," a DVD of the film, a credit in the film and a visit to a day’s film in Newburgh including lunch and refreshments.

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