Polaroid Camera and 1988 Photo

In Fun
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
1977 Polaroid OneStep Land Camera
1977 Polaroid OneStep Land Camera

This is a 1977 Polaroid OneStep Land Camera my mother brought with her after migrating from Guatemala to New York City in 1985, at the age of 11. Growing up in rural Guatemala, my mother migrated to New York with little to offer. Through her interest in photography, my mother was able to physically document her migration story within a country where Spanish was not the first language. As most immigrants do, my mother migrated to New York City to pursue a better life for herself and her family, and offer her children the opportunities she did not have as a child growing up. My mother saw The Bronx as a beacon of hope, where she would be able to live amongst working class families, many of whom are immigrants, who shared the common goal of providing for themselves and their families, and pursuing the American dream. Included with the camera is one of the first photos my mother took when she came to the Bronx, a photo of the infamous ‘Welcome to The Bronx’ sign that has stood in the Port Morris neighborhood welcoming migrants and others into the borough since the 1920s. My mother has since passed the camera down to me, and I’ve taken it with me throughout my own adventures around the world to India, United Arab Emirates, and soon South Africa and Morocco. For my mother, the camera represents a medium of communication that transcends borders, language, and words.

Year: 1985

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant