2013 — student award of excellence
Andrew Renneisen is a freelance photojournalist currently enrolled at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and represented by ZUMA Press.
Andrew just finished an internship with The Press of Atlantic City in Atlantic City, NJ and was previously the intern at The News Journal in Wilmington, DE.
Andrew's work has been published by The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Denver Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Courier Post, The New York Yankees, ABC, NBC, and other various news sources through out the United States.
Imagine a year in New York City, where the victims of homicide numbered 7,015. More deaths than double the amount of people killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001. Imagine a city marred by gruesome killings including the decapitation of a toddler, and the brutal stabbing of a 6-year-old boy in his sleep. Imagine a city with a rampant drug trade and 40 percent of residents living below the poverty line.
This “imaginary” city actually exists in the United States, and is only 100 miles from New York City. Camden, NJ, a city of 77,000, has often been regarded as one of the most dangerous cities in America. Last year, the city reached a record number of murders in 2012, with 67 victims, giving the city the highest murder rate in the country.
The city continues to live in constant strife, with a dwindling police force of 273 officers. Many have acknowledged to all but ceding to the drug trade on the city’s streets. The current city police force will soon be replaced by a larger county force to cut the city’s cost, and the consequences of the replacement are soon to be found.
"The [current] status quo means that the people in our city are being shot and murdered at Third World country rates," said police chief Scott Thomson, in a story published by NPR last December.
With such violent and tumultuous times, my project will focus on the daily struggle to live in a city surrounded by such significant amounts of violence, and the physical and emotional toll placed on families living in the area. It will also look for the effects caused by a new police force in the city, and the changes, if any, that occur in the fundamental causes of violence in the city.
This project would continue a story I’ve been working on entitled “Violent Times.” For the past two years, I have been photographing crime, violence, and poverty near where I have lived or worked, specifically in Wilmington, DE, and Atlantic City, NJ. The pictures in my story display the effects of violent culture, and are attempt to show reactions and consequences to violent conflict in my area. With the help of the Alexia Foundation, I would like to dig deeper and show the fundamental causes of social injustice stemming from daily life in cities such as Camden, NJ. I would also like to photograph things being done to create change, not only photographing despair and darkness, but also hope in a community surrounded in conflict.