“There is a kind of visual language and literacy and responsibility that comes with photographing someone who is in a vulnerable situation, and how do you do it with dignity.” — Christopher Lee
VII Mentor Program photographer Christopher Lee’s photo of Tanitoluwa Adewumi is featured in The New York Times Year in Pictures. Tanitoluwa, known as Tani, was an 8-year-old refugee from Nigeria living in a homeless shelter with his family. He was also a state chess champion.
Click here to view The New York Times Year in Pictures, featuring more images by Christopher Lee and VII’s Ashley Gilbertson.
Christopher Lee‘s photography can be seen in this New York Times piece on Davion Powell. Davion came close to escaping Brooklyn’s gang violence, but in the end he ran afoul of the Bloods in his neighborhood.
For the New York Times, Christopher Lee of the VII Mentor Program photographed the story of Heydi Gámez García, a 13-year-old from Honduras, who waited for her father to join her in the United States. But he was repeatedly stopped at the border. He came too late.
“’As a parent, you don’t have any hopes or dreams for yourself, all your dreams are for your kids,’ he said. ‘All my dreams are in her heart. All of them are gone with her.’ On Thursday, Mr. Gámez plans to take Heydi off life support. They will have spent her last four days alive, together.”
For Nick Kristoff’s New York Times opinion column, VII Mentor photographer Christopher Lee photographed Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi, who lives with his family in a shelter in New York City. Tani went from chess novice to chess champion in little over a year.
Tani and his family fled Northern Nigeria in 2017 fearing Boko Haram. Since arriving in NYC, Tani began attending PS 116 where he was taught chess by a part-time chess teacher. A year later, he was crowned state champion, beating out peers from wealthy private schools that have coaches and resources that someone like Tani wouldn’t have had access to. “Tani is a reminder that refugees enrich this nation — and that talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.”