Kamal Badhey, Lauren Henschel, and Jenny Stratton: 2016-17 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows

Top to bottom: Projects from 2015–17 Hine Fellows Kamal Badhey, Lauren Henschel, and Jenny Stratton

Top to bottom: Projects from 2015–17 Hine Fellows Kamal Badhey, Lauren Henschel, and Jenny Stratton

The Center for Documentary Studies is pleased to introduce the 2016-2017 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows, all of whom will be working with organizations in the New York City area; scroll down for more information on Kamal Badhey, Lauren Henschel, and Jenny Stratton. Founded on the spirit, values, and actions of social documentary photographer Lewis Hine, CDS’s Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program connects the talents of young documentarians with the needs of organizations serving children and their communities around the world. Learn more on the program’s blog, and enjoy the Hine Fellows website by former Hine Fellow Natalie Minik that revisits five Hine Fellowship projects during the program’s seven years of working with organization’s in Boston—Hine-Sight.org.


Photograph from Portals and Passageways, by Kamal Badhey

Photograph from Portals and Passageways, by Kamal Badhey

Kamal Badhey is a photographer, educator and visual urbanist from New York.   She has focused on ideas of dispersal, diaspora and origin pilgrimages, using photography and the narratives of places, people, and objects to stitch together stories. Her work and sense of home follows the childhood saying told to her in Telugu, ’Katha kanchiki, manam intiki’,  ‘The story goes far far away, and now we are back in our homes’.  Her project Portals and Passageways is part of a collection of photographs from a reconstructed family album. They are based on the collective story of her extended family in Secunderabad, India, starting with her oldest known ancestor and great great grandfather, jeweler Annam Rathnaiah.

Kamal’s work in the Exhibitions Program at the Center for Documentary Studies with Courtney Reid-Eaton allowed her to re-envision the documentary canon.  She received her MA in Photography and Urban Cultures from Goldsmiths, University of London and her MS in Museum and General Education from Bank Street College.  She has engaged with a variety of communities, but her most significant experience was as a visual arts teacher at Cypress Hills Community School in Brooklyn, New York, where she taught for seven years.   Teaching art allowed her to create opportunities for spontaneity, pure expression, and dialogue as well as share agency with her students.  Her belief is that places of safety and creativity allow people to build on their strengths while creating a deep sense of autonomy.  She says the Hine Fellowship gives her the opportunity to listen deeply, as well as bridge her love for people, storytelling and photography.

Kamal will be working with Friends of the Children of New York. To see her work, visit her website.


Riverside, still image from video, by Lauren Henschel

Riverside, still image from video, by Lauren Henschel

Lauren sees documentary arts as a catalyst for empathy. Diagnosed in 2009 with psoriatic arthritis, a painful autoimmune disease, she turned to her art as an escape.  Instead she discovered a way to express her struggle, and people listened. Lauren’s journey through pain inspired her to turn her lens and soul outward – attempting to help others suffering find solace through the documentary process and inviting viewers to observe.

Emboldened by her goal, Lauren chose to continue her education at Duke University (AB 2015) largely because of its Center for Documentary Studies. There she found peers and professors who affirmed her passion and nurtured her talent. Though her technique and skill evolved, Lauren remained committed to a humanistic approach to her work. Lauren’s thesis and first major project, “Indelible,” is an art installation – utilizing still images, audio narratives, and video footage – that presents anonymous stories of individuals with scars and the manifestation of that pain on the human body. The piece was displayed in its original form as black and white photographs at Carnegie Hall and continued to garner acclaim at Duke University as an installation.

After graduating with highest distinction, Lauren utilized funding from a Benenson grant, the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, and a few other sources to travel to Peru to seek the roots of a story about a mother and her daughter who abandoned their lives and family in rural Peru to seek improved opportunities in the United States. On her return to the US, Lauren co-founded The Shared Divide, a pending non-profit that creates multimedia content as a narrative for social change. By specifically focusing on the historical narratives of underserved communities, The Shared Divide works to archive endangered historical stories in order to promote the education of future generations about the history of their communities.  Currently, she is working through The Shared Divide with members of the underrepresented Riverside community in South Hampton, New York, to archive its rich history, which traditional historical venues have repeatedly overlooked.

About the Lewis Hine Fellowship Lauren writes, “I am humbled and honored to be a Lewis Hine Fellow and to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Red Hook Community Justice Center. I look forward to being part of a community that is challenging existing structures of justice and creating a more equitable system to build upon. Working in such a uniquely creative and resilient community over the next year will challenge me and help me to grow both artistically and as a person. I look forward to developing documentary projects in collaboration with the Justice Center and residents of the community.”

Lauren will be working with the Red Hook Community Justice Center. To see more of her recent work, visit her website.


Photograph from Quartet, by Jenny Stratton

Photograph from Quartet, by Jenny Stratton

We photograph from who we are. Jenny Jacklin Stratton’s work springs largely from her migratory upbringing in the Naval Special Warfare community. Over the years her inclination to know more about her own family and surroundings has evolved into a means to engage deeply and share stories with others. Her work often involves long-form collaborations; collectively grappling with personal ethnographies and relationships between how we see and what we know.

Jenny earned a MFA in Experimental & Documentary Arts from Duke University and completed a U.S. Department of State FLAS fellowship in Arab Language and Middle Eastern Studies in 2014. With a background in earth science, she aims to better understand and amplify connections between individuals, communities, ecologies, geologic time and soil. Her thesis, American Soil explores environmental and national narratives of war and the difficulty in understanding transitions made by military and refugee communities. Most recently, American Soil will be on exhibit at the 2016 Terra Madre Salone del Gusto (Turin, Italy) and as part of the Farmers’ Union Women in Agriculture series. Another project, Survived By chronicles the daily details of loss, sense of place and resiliency of surviving spouses and their children. During her time at Duke, the form of these projects grew from from primarily making stop-motion animations and photographs to also include video, writing, sound, recipes, living plants, detritus and reactivating archival materials.

Concurrent with making documentary work, Jenny facilitates workshops and courses for academic institutions, non-profit and grassroots organizations including Vision Workshops, Jana Urban India Foundation, Platteforum Art Lab, Acta Non Verba, The Partnership for Appalachia Girls & Education and Duke University Franklin Humanities Institute.

Jenny is grateful to be a 2016 Hine Documentary Fellow. She writes, “I am incredibly excited by the powerful legacy and premise of the Lewis Hine Fellowship to support humanitarian organizations by utilizing documentary arts as an effective tool for social research and reform. I see this as a meaningful opportunity to work closely with a community, to listen closely and to be fully present in that shared time.”

Jenny will be working with Children’s Aid and Family Services of New Jersey.  To see some of her recent projects, visit National Geographic and this Plate Forum feature.

Visit the Hine Fellows blog for regular updates from the Hine Fellows, as well as final dispatches from the 2015-16 Fellows later this month.

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    One Response to “Kamal Badhey, Lauren Henschel, and Jenny Stratton: 2016-17 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows”

    1. […] We’re excited to announce that Kamal Badhey, Lauren Henschel, and Jenny Stratton will be the 2016-2017 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows in New York City. Read more about the Fellows and where they’ll be working on the CDS Porch blog. […]

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