Six of the Best | Dondre Green

From buying a camera with his first financial aid cheque to his work featured in Forbes, Dondre Green has crafted a compelling Bronx narrative. His work is an intimate look into a borough rich in culture and stories.

Dondre Green

Dondre Green is a multidisciplinary artist and a visual storyteller passionate about capturing the human experience. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Dondre’s artistic journey began when he began using his mum’s point-and-shoot camera in high school. Then, in college, he invested his first financial aid check into a camera from Best Buy. Since then, he’s been crafting images that speak volumes, revealing the soul of the Bronx community through his project, Bronx Narratives.

Green’s work embodies a captivating blend of colour, movement, and raw emotion. His portraits are honest and human-centred, focusing on the aesthetic and the essence of the individual. His love for the Bronx shines through in every frame, offering an intimate look into a borough rich in culture and stories.

Beyond his work behind the lens, Dondre Green is also the founder and creative director of Bronx Narratives, a multimedia platform dedicated to honest storytelling. This project goes past photography, including events, podcasts, and merchandise, to provide a rounded portrayal of life in the Bronx. His creative efforts have attracted the attention of big brands like Adidas, Google, and Apple, but his primary inspiration remains the vibrant, diverse community he calls home.

Dondre Green’s vision also extends to other artistic mediums, including graphic design, which he incorporates into his storytelling toolkit. With a portfolio featured in notable publications such as Forbes, NPR, and CBS New York, Dondre Green is a rising star in the world of visual arts, determined to tell stories that need to be heard.


Mr Miller

Dondre Green Mr Miller

“Mr. Miller is my 94-year-old neighbour in the Bronx. He’s someone I’ve always respected, even as a kid. As the eldest person on the block, he holds a wealth of information. Over the years, we’ve had some meaningful conversations, and as I get older, those interactions held more weight for me.

“I’ve worked with senior citizens in the past, and I’ve always valued their unique perspectives on life. They’re time portals. With Mr. Miller getting older, I became invested in the idea of finding a way to honour him. He often says the neighbourhood has changed, and he’s felt less seen and appreciated. His wife has transitioned, and his children aren’t local, so it’s mostly just him now.

“I called him one day and suggested taking some photos of him. He didn’t seem quite sold on the idea, as he was self-conscious about how his ageing would show in the photos. I spoke to my mom shortly before deciding whether I was going to do it, and she encouraged me to move forward with the idea. I quickly bought some flowers and headed over to his house and observed how Mr. Miller was intrigued by the whole process— he was impressed by the different lenses and poses we tried. At first, he was a bit self-conscious about how he’d look in the pictures, but by the end, he was directing the image session himself! He wanted to be photographed on the stairs, wearing his Baby Phat. The next week, I went back to give him the printed photos. He was thrilled to see the physical images, and he framed them shortly after.

“For additional context, my block was a pretty close-knit community growing up; we had lemonade stands, knew each other’s families, and spent time together as kids playing outside. Now, with most of the community transitioning elsewhere, things have been different. Mr. Miller feels this shift deeply. The loneliness is evident while he remains strong, maintaining a tidy home, cooking for himself, and listening to his extensive vinyl collection of jazz. The absence of support, even for simple tasks like climbing stairs, is noticeable. I do my best to support him by calling or visiting whenever my capacity permits, and sometimes I feel guilty for not doing more. Looking back at it, this felt like my magazine cover moment.”

Isolated Experiences

Dondre Green

© Dondre Green

“This photo of Aluoch was really memorable for me. It was one of the first image sessions I had during the summer of 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. Being cooped up, there was so much to reflect on. When summer rolled around, people started feeling more comfortable and anxious to get outside, so Aluoch and I hit up a rooftop for an image session. I followed where her spirit led, and this one was within the array of images created. In many ways, it mirrored my own sense of liberation behind the lens after being stuck at home. As if, for a moment in time, we could simply breathe again.

“Aluoch and I had a history of creating; from her modeling, to assisting me, conceptualizing personal projects and also styling image sessions for me. Our collaborations have always been fun to explore. That specific summer, getting out in New York, was a mix of chaos and magic. It allowed me to rediscover my purpose with my camera and rethink my approach to the work I wanted to create.”

Perfection

Dondre Green

© Dondre Green

“This photo was taken in 2014. I photographed it using my iPhone at Coney Island amidst a challenging year for me, career-wise and personal life. I was performing music there at the time, and I made this image just before going on stage. It encapsulated how I felt: I was halfway out, yet with the water, a cleanse was on the way. The aerial perspective added a different feeling to the image—the innocence of someone watching the waves without fear.

“Speaking more to waves, they’re a cleansing force. Even if they appear daunting, they often provide that second wind of energy we need. It’s like a ritual to witness them. One of my all-time favourite photos.”

Grandad

Dondre Green

© Dondre Green

“My granddad is someone I deeply admire. From Jamaica to New York, he set out to change the trajectory of his family. He owned buildings in Harlem, ran taxi cabs, and fully operated a grocery store where his kids worked. Later, he took his earnings to Florida, where he built a house and settled down in his later years with his wife and ultimately returned to Jamaica, where he built and opened a hotel. I visited his home in Jamaica, which he also architected, and it’s super serene and peaceful, as it overlooks the water.

“I took the opportunity to learn from him, picking his mind from his wealth of experiences—he had plenty to offer. He still has a strong entrepreneurial mind, creating a legacy that goes beyond material things. It’s honourable that he has so much to leave behind for his family, too.”

Across The Pond

Dondre Green

© Dondre Green

“When the opportunity arose to photograph for Remy Martin in Paris, I had a few meetings with the production company, and then it became real. Once I was on the plane, the gravity of it all hit me. It was surreal to think how my life’s work had finally brought me to Europe. While exploring the city, I visited the Eiffel Tower and went to the top to get this photo.

“The experience in Paris taught me a lot. This was another capture on my iPhone, snapped a day before the actual assignment began. Juggling time zones and moving around different parts of France with a full schedule was a learning curve, but I’m grateful for the experience.”

Dreams Sold Separately

Dondre Green

© Dondre Green

Dreams Sold Separately might be the most honest piece of work I’ve made to date. I watched this French film, The Red Balloon, about a kid’s fascination with a red balloon for more inspiration, and it stuck with me. I mentioned it to Yannick, and he was even more sold on what we could create together. Even before watching the film, I knew I wanted to do something with a red balloon. For a long time, I discussed this concept with Yannick, a fellow model I first made images with last year. We mulled over the idea, but deep down, I was hesitant to create, and I think it’s because I feared not executing it the way I envisioned in my head. The thesis was in life. Sometimes, dreams are sold separately. It took me a while to get the courage to say that because it felt ‘loud’.

“Finally, this year, I took the plunge. Yannick was ready and had always been. We even created a short film around the concept, which is available as an Instagram reel. It leaves a lot to interpretation, but the balloon essentially represents the dream we all have and the challenge to keep it alive as life’s obstacles get in the way.

“I’ve shifted the focus of my work to embody more independent storytelling. Oftentimes, I’m styling, photographing, filming, scripting and even contributing to the sound score. Yannick, for his part, took the project seriously. He came aligned, It exemplified how we can extend a creative idea into something deeply meaningful.”


Dondre Green’s work can be found on Instagram and on his website, dondregreen.com