In the ongoing project Down by the Hudson, American photographer Caleb Stein (b.1994) shows a record of his walks and interactions along the Main Street of Poughkeepsie, New York, a small city where around twenty percent of the inhabitants live below the poverty line. Although Stein’s photographs reveal life’s hardship in people’s eyes, he aims to keep his subjects free of stereotypes. “Photographing is a way for me to remain open to a multiplicity of environs and walks of life,” Stein says. “I love what the Martiniquan writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant once said - ‘I can change, through exchange.’”
He took this opportunity to show the viewer the complexities and interlaced layers of life as experienced by his subjects. Although he captures a community, Stein’s work is more about the individuals he encounters. The interesting markings on their faces give clear indications of the lives they’ve lead, and because it’s shot in black and white their features show with even more contrast. Without judgement, Stein’s work evokes a great sense of empathy for Poughkeepsie’s inhabitants.