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February 23, 2021

New York Film Academy (NYFA) is thrilled to announce that Photography alum Jon Henry has been featured in TIME Magazine’s TIME 100 Next list for 2021.

Last year, Henry won the prestigious Arnold Newman Prize for New Directions in Photographic Portraiture­ and the Kodak Film Photo Award—for his series “Stranger Fruit.” The alum also had his photographs from the series displayed on multiple pages in the October 2020 National Geographic issue.

Cover of the ‘TIME Magazine’ issue featuring the ‘Next 100’

TIME reporter Josiah Bates, who wrote the profile on Henry for the Time 100 Next issue shared that Henry’s prolific series “Stranger Fruit” is weighted with significance: “In visual artist Jon Henry’s series ‘Stranger Fruit,’ sons pose with their mothers as if they are lifeless, re-creating scenes of mourning. The mothers stare through the camera’s lens, as if holding onlookers accountable for threats their sons could one day face. In 2020—after the killing of George Floyd by police­—the series took on new poignancy.”

The alum was featured alongside other artists who made the list including director Boots Riley, Lakeith Stanfield, Florence Pugh, and more. Henry shared his gratitude for being included in the list on his Instagram account: “Honored beyond measure to be included in #time100next. The 2021 TIME100 Next list highlights 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, health, science and activism, and more. Crazy.”

NYFA alum Jon Henry

“Photographs are best at showing us what things look like, rather than what things feel like. Jon Henry’s Stranger Fruit does both.

In ‘Stranger Fruit,’ Jon Henry photographs Black mothers holding their sons, a gesture of endless love and devotion. Strong and defiant, yet visibly laden with the unending stress of racism, these photographs stand in solidarity with the plight of Black mothers everywhere. Henry’s empathy with the overwhelming intensity of concern that Black mothers endure for their children’s safety in public spaces, and in police presence in particular, comes from his perceptive understanding of what his own mother was going through raising him, as well as the continuing state of emergency that Black people live in today.

Taking the composition and weight of the Pieta as his starting point, Henry nods to the strength of faith needed to bolster us against the reality of a racist world, and to the binding threads that tether us to our ancestors, and each other, beyond death. Today we can’t look at these images without remembering so many innocent Black lives lost to police brutality, most recently George Floyd, who cried out for his mother as he left this world under the deathtrap of an officer’s knee.

Through sharing personal stories of trauma we reach each other and call each other to act. We are so proud of Jon Henry’s powerful work and so glad that Time Magazine recognizes Jon Henry as one of the most influential people today. We hope through Time Magazine’s readership his message will be seen all over the world and needed changes will be made.” - Naomi White, Chair of NYFA’s Photography Department in Los Angeles

Henry was also featured on the cover of JRNL 4 and was also profiled by Photograph Magazine. The NYFA alum and Photography instructor’s “Stranger Fruit” series is currently on display in Portland at BlueSky Gallery through March 27, 2021, and will also be featured in Miami from March 11 - May 21 at DotFiftyOne Gallery. The series has also gone international and is currently on view at the KP Gallery in South Korea, the first international solo exhibition for the project.

New York Film Academy is thrilled to congratulate one of its own for being among those selected for TIME Magazine’s TIME 100 Next list for 2021 and is proud of the recognition that Jon Henry is receiving for his body of work and the “Stranger Fruit” series.

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