"Life Along The Elevated"

In 2013 we awarded the seventh Photo Urbanism Fellowship to the Brooklyn-based photographer Krisanne Johnson to document “life under and around elevated infrastructure in New York City.”

New York City has nearly 700 miles of elevated infrastructure—bridges, highways, subway tracks, and rail lines—towering above its streets and weaving throughout its five boroughs. The 2013 Photo Urbanism Fellowship was awarded to support and inform the Design Trust’s current project with the New York City Department of Transportation, Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities, which is focused on reclaiming and transforming the public spaces underneath elevated infrastructure.

Program support provided by Lawrence Lederman, NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, and New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

People skate at the LES Coleman Skatepark under the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown

Krisanne Johnson

2013-2014: Life Along The Elevated

Krisanne Johnson is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and pursued postgraduate work in visual communications at Ohio University.

In 2006, she based herself in New York City as a freelance photographer. Since then, Krisanne has been working on long-term personal projects about young women and HIV/AIDS in Swaziland and post-apartheid South African youth culture.

Krisanne’s work has been recognized by World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International, and the Best of Photojournalism. Her Swaziland work, titled I Love You Real Fast, has received the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, a Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography, and support from the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund. Her work has appeared in TIME, The New Yorker, Fader Magazine and The New York Times. Most recently, Krisanne’s Swaziland work was exhibited at the Visa pour l’Image festival in Perpignan, France and at the Festival of Ethical Photography in Lodi, Italy.

Exhibition Gallery

Life Along The Elevated

Krisanne Johnson

Artist Statement

These structures provide a fundamental human need – shelter – and that means that they can be fertile, not just desolate. I am interested in telling the stories of the people who share these spaces and make them work in different ways, and how the massive presence of an overpass can foster and shape different kinds of social interaction, for better or for worse.


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