For nearly a decade, photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally has followed the lives of a group of young women living in Upstate New York. The stories of the women of Troy, NY are an intimate and powerful look at the cycle of class separation and economic inequality facing many Americans today.
Working in collaboration with students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the Visual Studies Workshop (VSW), Kenneally has been building a multi-platform documentary titled Upstate Girls to tell these stories. The project has now reached a point where its contributors’ hard work and good intentions need financial support. You can help them complete their work on Kickstarter.
According to the 2010 census approximately 20% of the households in Troy are headed by single females. Their jobs have evolved from the factory work of the industrial revolution that earned Troy the name “Collar City” to the post industrial service sector jobs like Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds, and other big box food chains that are now cemented in the American landscape. What has remained constant is the women of Troy’s ability to draw on their maternal skills to power them through long days at work and huge family demands when they return home.
The Upstate Girls project is not only a document of the America that we all share with these women, but more importantly a story of the emotional connections that are universal to being human.
The project’s goal is to create a platform for deep exploration of the complex issues inherent to Upstate Girls‘ stories through an interactive web documentary. Visitors will be able to discover the lives of the women of Troy through videos, photographs, letters, historical documents and scrapbooks and tie the pieces of the stories together in their own way.
The second phase of this work will be to open the database of information Kenneally has gathered over the past 9 years to those people who can activate change. It is the photographer’s hope that this project will reach beyond the traditional audience of documentary photography and news to support research and change.
How to Help
Your donation will help access the resources needed to bring Upstate Girls to its full potential. The students at both RIT and VSW will benefit greatly from collaboration with professional web designers, web programmers, and video editors.