The 14th Street Y has had the privilege of showcasing some amazing gallery exhibits, and more than a few of our photography shows have been the work of Bridget Badore! A freelance photographer as well as an After School teacher at the 14Y, Badore has been a part of our community since 2013. Her work on the “Portraits of the 14th Street Y” gallery led her directly to her role as photographer for our upcoming Celebration of the Caregiver Community gallery, and we sat down with her to talk about her history with the 14Y and her passion for working behind the camera.
How did you first start working with the 14Y and how have you worked with us over the years?
Bridget: I started working with the 14Y as my first part–time job out of college in 2013. I started as a counselor in the After School program, which I still teach in. I was taking photos for After School, and then other people at the 14Y were like, “You take nice photos, can you take photos for us, too?” So I became the go-to photographer for a while. Then I worked at New Country Day Camp, I helped them start their photojournalism unit in 2014. After that I was a social media coordinator here, working part time, and now I freelance here sometimes, but I still teach a photography class at the 14Y to kids from 2nd grade to 5th grade.
How did you first come into contact with Nancy and Hope and start working on this project?
Bridget: I did a show two years ago called “Portraits of the 14th Street Y”. I photographed and interviewed a bunch of people that I had kept in contact with. I was working in marketing at the time, and I thought it’d be a really cool end of year campaign. I got gallery space, and I photographed around 60 people for the project over the course of two months. Hope and Nancy saw it, and they emailed me because they had been talking to their caregiver groups. They had been discussing doing an event spotlighting the 14Y caregivers and then saw “Portraits at the 14th Street Y”, and they thought “Oh, let’s put these two ideas together”. Hope emailed me and asked if I’d be interested in doing something like that a couple years ago. So we’ve been talking about it for quite a while, and trying to figure out who we could work with, and how to make it a reality. We talked to Dana Federbrush, the Director of Family Programs and got her interested. Then the opportunity came to apply for a grant that gave us some budget to work on this.
How did you first get into photography?
Bridget: I’ve been doing photography for most of my life now. I started when I was in elementary school. I used to steal my mom’s camera and play with it during recess, and then every Sunday we would go grocery shopping, drop the film off at Wegman’s, and then pick it up the next week. It was this really amazing, fun thing that I loved so much. And after a couple years, she gave me my dad’s old 35-mm camera. He died when I was 3, and we still had his untouched camera with these notes from a class that he took, in his handwriting, and a Kodak simple photography manual. I must have been about 12 or 13 when I got it. I read the manual and all these notes, and started understanding the technical elements of photography, which is what I try to teach my kids who are around the same age now. And then I started taking photos in a more intentional way – understanding how light worked and playing around with creative ideas. Photography became my thing because I was so young when I started doing it, and when it came time to apply for schools, I followed that and went to the School of Visual Arts for my bachelor’s. So I think for a while, photography was just something that I did as a second nature. Because my dad had died when I was so young, I was very enamored by nostalgia and memories and trying to record things. So when I look back on myself, I realized I was doing that every chance I could. I was making these scrapbooks and I would make my friends write all of our conversations down during lunch. There was always this urgency to document everything.
What’s a meaningful experience you’ve had with photography?
Bridget: My family’s from a small town upstate, and living in the city, there’s been a lot of differences in the way we’ve been able to connect. Especially with my younger brother, who’s super different from me. He and I don’t talk a lot, but whenever I visit him, I photograph him, and I think it’s been this very meaningful way for us to connect without having to actually have an awkward conversation. It’s just been this nice way for us to spend time together, and I’ve been doing it for so long that whenever I’m with him, I have my camera out, and he knows that I’m going to photograph him.
What was your experience working with the caregivers for this project?
Bridget: It was very different from my experience of the “Portraits of the 14th Street Y” project, because that was all on me: I reached out to everyone I knew, I had it all figured out in my head. This time, Dana, Hope and Nancy were the ones that had the stories already, and I was just helping them put them up there. It was cool to be introduced to people that I had never actually had the chance to talk to, even though I’ve been at the 14Y for so many years.
A Celebration of the Caregiver Community Gallery Opening
Thursday, November 7 | 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Please join us for an inspiring gallery opening honoring caregivers at the 14th Street Y. Photographer Bridget Badore, and many of the discussion leaders and caregivers highlighted in the exhibit will be there to speak and mingle with guests.RSVP
Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to all.
A Celebration of the Caregiver Community:
Portraits and Biographies by Bridget Badore
October 31 – December 13
This special exhibit features and celebrates our connections with the caregivers who play such a vital role in the lives of families and individuals in our community. It offers a window into their diverse cultural backgrounds and conveys their rich stories about work, personal histories, and varied experiences. It is with enormous appreciation and gratitude that the exhibit shares the compassionate, generous, nurturing, devoted, and resourceful lives of these dedicated individuals who provide support here at the 14th Street Y and beyond.
The inspiration for this exhibit came through a 2017 Prelude to Preschool Discussion Group. Caregivers in the group expressed interest in being featured in the 14Y Gallery after seeing the “Portraits of the 14th Street Y” Exhibit by Bridget Badore earlier that year. We are thrilled that their idea has come to fruition.
About the photographer:
Bridget Badore is an editorial and portrait photographer from a small town outside of Syracuse, New York. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts honors program in 2013 with a BFA in Photography. She began taking photographs in elementary school when she received her dad’s old 35mm camera; she taught herself photography through her late father’s scribbled notes and old photography manuals. Obsessed with nostalgia from an early age, her work often deals with the concept of home and where people find it.
Captivated by the intimacy that the camera lends her, Bridget allows her subjects to be vulnerable and honest. She has been featured as a selection in American Photography 32 and participated in the Daniel Cooney Fine Art emerging artists auction. Her freelance clients include Instyle, Bustle, Man Repeller, School of Visual Arts, Apartment Therapy, AirBNB, Betaworks, Google, WNET, ITV, Tribeca Film Festival, and Photo District News.
@bridgetbadore | www.bridgetbadore.com