Snapshot of the World

Photographing NYC children from different countries.

Photographer Danny Goldfield has taken pictures of children from 171 countries to date, and 25 countries remain on the list for his NYChildren Photography project. To complete the project, Goldfield aims to photograph one child from every country on Earth living in New York City. Determined to finish, Goldfield welcomes leads to facilitate his search. He has been working on the NYChildren project for six years.

The photographs reveal a spectrum of emotions in New York City, a place where millions of people thrive in relative harmony. Goldfield’s photo shoots take place in all five boroughs of New York City, including in churches, mosques, parks, homes and even unexpected places, like dentist offices. What amazes Goldfield most is how all of the families involved freely share their lives. While doing the shoots, it’s as if Goldfield, who specializes in candid portraits of children and families, becomes part of each family for a little while. Kids from most socio-economic backgrounds, cultures and religions have participated. A lot of them come from immigrant families, but there are also adopted children and children of diplomatic missions’ employees. Many of the families invite Goldfield to share a meal, letting him enjoy the tastes of every continent.

The project brings neighbors closer together, too. Thousands of people from all over the city, and the world, play a role in reaching out to subjects to participate in the project. In his quest to find all of the children necessary, Goldfield receives assistance from community builders, clergy members, educators, business people, politicians, journalists, artists, students and families. People tend to know someone in their community, who knows someone from one of the missing countries. NYChildren exists because of the goodwill and participation of this growing network of people, making it a community project.

Large countries like Russia to the small island-nation of Tuvalu comprise the 171 countries represented in the project. The remaining countries that Goldfield aspires to photograph children from include Andorra, Benin, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Gabon, Kiribati, Kuwait, Malawi, the Maldives, Mauritius, Micronesia, Monaco, Mozambique, Nauru, North Korea, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Samoa, Seychelles, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Island, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu and Vatican City. Among the list are countries that many people have never heard of, making the project increasingly difficult to complete.

Photographs taken for the project have been exhibited numerous times in New York City. Those in the first international exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark, made front-page news last year. Goldfield’s ultimate goal is to create a big exhibition in New York City, where all the families captured on camera can gather and meet each other. By encouraging the development of a New York community of children from around the world, Goldfield hopes to give back to society. He also aspires to create a traveling exhibition of the project that would visit every country on the planet.

“This project is not just about children or New York City,” explains Goldfield. “It’s about how all cultures and countries are connected to each other; we are all in this together.”

People frequently offer their own take on NYChildren, lending new insights and meaning to the project. Goldfield welcomes feedback, curious to hear of everyone’s impressions of NYChildren.

Because many people have asked about purchasing a book of the photos taken for NYChildren, a coffee-table book was recently published featuring pictures of children from 90 different countries. The hardcover with a white linen casing can be ordered at www.dannygoldfield.com. While sales support the project financially, the book helps to spread the message of NYChildren— that every child, every culture and every photo is unique, but seeing them all together makes you realize that in the end they’re not that different at all.