In 1987, two years before the world celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall, 50 western photographers and 50 Soviet photographers spread across the Soviet Union and spent a day documenting nations on the brink of change. I can still remember sharing this book with anyone who would listen, mesmerized by these people who lived on the other side of the world, brought to life by the power and magic of photography.

Kennedy Blvd near Lincoln Ave. (Heights). Women distributing information for "Islam in Spanish" (Islaminspanish.com) on the corner of Kennedy Blvd and Lincoln Ave. Photo by Jennifer Fanning.
Kennedy Blvd near Lincoln Ave. (Heights). Women distributing information for “Islam in Spanish” (Islaminspanish.com) on the corner of Kennedy Blvd and Lincoln Ave. Photo by Jennifer Fanning.

In early July 2015, Eric and I spoke about the concept of having photographers sweep over Jersey City, shooting their daily experiences from all over the 6 wards. Over the last 20 years, photography has become infinitely more accessible and extremely democratic, a universal language that everyone can use and understand. We don’t have to rely solely on photographers who are experts in their craft, everyone can use their phone to tell their own story.

Within a week we were at City Hall talking about #dayinthelifejc with Luca Cusolito, of Program Development in the Office of Cultural Affairs. The department was extremely supportive of the project throughout, helping us to get a banner that now sits in front of City Hall on Grove Street.

Folks from all over Jersey City answered the call to take photographs. Their submissions were incredibly diverse in terms of perspective, content and style. We were able to assemble an amazing panel of judges, one representing each ward, to select 10 images that were meaningful to them.

After the judges made their final selections, we worked with Big Drum Art and Framing who mounted the prints, making it possible for us to display your images at the Lackawanna Pop Up Art Center during Jersey City Art and Studio Tour (JCAST2015).

Rey owner of Keyhole
One of our 6 judges, Rey Rolon, owner of Rolon’s, popular known as Keyhole in downtown Jersey City.

#dayinthelifejc is the connectedness of Jersey City in action, from the involvement of the judges, who are all active in the city in different and meaningful ways, to the creation of our beautiful props by local artist Gail Boykewich who made our beautiful and fun Jersey City props for our photo booth. Jersey City institutions like WFMU and Liberty Science Center added to our props so they could be represented in our hilarious photo booth.

During JCAST2015, it was wonderful to talk with people about their impressions of the images. One gentlemen, referring to a fruit vendor who was in one of the photos said, “I’ve been looking for that guy, he used to be on Columbus!” One of the submissions was from the president of an organization, Streetz Disciple, a faith based motorcycle club that feeds the homeless. Gaston le pig showed  up, dressed for the occasion in a bow tie for his first JCAST exhibit. Emerging photographers were excited to have their work displayed at such a highly promoted event, while we were honored to honor the Jersey City Fire Department be a part of our project, photographed by Captain Anthony Klocko.

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Gaston le Pig in a bow tie comes to see his debut!

We want to thank you for being so involved, from taking your photo and sending it to us, to visiting us at the exhibit. We especially want to thank Director Elizabeth Cain,  the Office of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Public Works, and of course, Mayor Steven Fulop and the Jersey City Municipal Council for all their help and support.

Through #dayinthelifejc, we learned so much about the city and the people in it, even after living here for 15 years. We are currently working with the Jersey City Independent to keep #dayinthelifejc going until next September, when we hope to do it all over again! Stay tuned for more information. And, until March 31st, 2015, anyone who mentions #dayinthelifejc when booking a family portrait session with Honey and Moon Photography receives a 10% discount.

Have a great #dayinthelifejc!

Tracey and Eric