Born to Puerto Rican parents in New York in 1961, Ricky Flores grew up in the Tremont and Longwood sections of the Bronx. In 1980, Flores began documenting life in the South Bronx after he purchased a camera with a small inheritance he received from his father, who had died in 1965. The purchase of the camera was the first step in a journey of self-discovery that continues through this day, a journey born out of photographing his friends and family during one of the most turbulent times in the history of the Bronx and New York City.
Over the years, Flores has freelanced for The Daily News, The New York Times, The City Sun, and The Village Voice, and he currently works for The Journal News. In 1981, Flores was on the ground, covering the protests against President Ronald Reagan’s foreign and domestic policies, which were disproportionately affecting the working class and poor at a time when the City was still suffering great loses under the devastating effects of New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s policy of “benign neglect.”
Flores speaks with NYC 1981 about the spirit of the protest movement and what it was like to be a photojournalist at this time.
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