Platon Offers Sanctuary with New York Magazine
It’s impossible for us to know who the first immigrants to America were. If Africa was the cradle of life – and by all accounts it was – the first immigrants to this continent came over uncountable thousands of years ago, populating this land through tribes and unique cultures. Many of them are still here, while others have been lost. Immigration stalled, and started back up again in the late 1400s, and has only increased ever since. Other than the Native American tribes, the well-founded argument can be made, everyone here is an immigrant even when it’s not so obvious. One place it is more obvious than most is in New York City, and just last week New York Magazine celebrated that unique aspect of the city with a cover story photographed by Platon.
The story is actually less of a story and more of a portfolio created by Platon that shows the immigrants of New York City. Not all of them, to be sure – they’re uncountable – but a representation of them. There’s a practical yearbook showing off generations from a 1-month-old child of immigrants, to a 91-year-old naturalized citizen originally from Italy. These are the faces of the dreamers, the “illegals,” the undocumented, our neighbors, coworkers, friends, teachers – the people that make the lifeblood of this city, and who are the spiritual decedents of the founders of this country.
The very cover of the magazine displays a newborn citizen, whose mother is a Dreamer, and grandmother an undocumented immigrant. Each generation is added into the portrait, folded into the magazine as a trio of covers. “We were thinking about what would make a great story played out over three covers, and thought about the three generations of immigration,” explains Jody Quon, Photography Director of New York Magazine. “So you get the full arc of New York immigrants in the progression of the covers.”
This issue represents the 12th Edition of ‘Reasons to Love New York,’ naming the fact that New York has been named a “Sanctuary City” – a place where immigrants of all statuses are safe – as the biggest reason to love the city this year. If the common wisdom of 2016 has any truth to it, we’re facing a lot of change in 2017 in every community. The best, and truly the only way, we can face the coming future is with as much information and empathy that we can muster. This story is a vital piece of that collective education.