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Jill Enfield

Glasshouse of Immigrants photo taken by Stephen Levey during Photoville at the Annenberg Photography Center in Los Angeles in 2017.

The New Americans

I started learning how to make wet plate collodion ambrotypes about 2005, and immediately started a project called “The New Americans”. I am first generation on my father's side and second on my mother's. My family was forced to leave their home countries, and it made me curious to learn why people choose to leave their homelands in search of new adventures far from what is familiar to them.

© Jill Enfield, Rene Hofstedt  born 1962 The Netherlands  immigrated: 1987

© Jill Enfield, Koichiro Kurita  born 1942 Manchuria, China  immigrated: 1992

I started with people that I knew and it grew from there, being introduced to people from all over the world. I would invite them to come to my apartment in NYC, or I would meet them where they worked to take a portrait and have them fill out a questionnaire. Their answers ranged from education to leaving bad situations at home to just simply to try something new.


As I was putting together a show on Ellis Island, I came up with the idea of a glass house of immigrants, as “those in glasshouses should not throw stones”: we are all immigrants in this country. The show took up 6 galleries and the glasshouse and some of the prints have traveled until just recently.

© Jill Enfield, Celestin Coulibaly  born 1967 Burkina, Faso  Immigrated: 2006

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© Jill Enfield, Kadidja Rae  born 1974  Ivory Coast, West Africa  Immigrated: 1994

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© Jill Enfield, Orlando Condesa born 1947 Lima, Peru  immigrated: 1971

© Jill Enfield, Simon Markwat born 1980 Poland immigrated: 1997, Maciej Tracz  born 1986 Poland  immigrated 2002

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