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Boston Photo Collaborative records

Identifier: M160

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents three youth-oriented programs of the Boston Photo Collaborative: The Place Where I Live, Project Image, and Teen Images. Materials created by Boston Photo Collaborative administrators document the growth and development of its programs. Materials created by program participants document the activities of local community-based organizations such as the Boston Youth Clean-up Corps; Brookside and other Boston neighborhoods; and issues of concern to urban teenagers, such as teen pregnancy and parenting, drug and alcohol use, and violence. The collection spans 1992-2007 (bulk 1992-2006). The collection is composed largely of photographic prints, negatives, and contact sheets. The collection also includes correspondence, budgets for selected programs, publications containing participants' photographs, press coverage of the Boston Photo Collaborative and its programs, program evaluations by participants and instructors, and essays and notebooks from program participants.


  • Creation: 1992-2007


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

The Boston Photo Collaborative was founded by Carl Mastandrea in 1991 in a former rubber factory in the Brookside neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Its mission was to bring photography into the community, enabling access for groups that had historically been excluded from the arts. The Boston Photo Collaborative offered workshops, lectures, and seminars for amateur, freelance, and full-time photographers; administered a fund to provide supplies to full-time photography students in need; and allowed local photographers to rent darkroom access in a flexible manner.

Project Image was a summertime program that offered paid internships to inner-city youth. The idea for the program came from Officer Steven Johnson of the Boston Police Department, an amateur photographer who believed that art could improve the lives of urban teens. Project Image was implemented by Mastandrea and Simon Levin, the first Project Image instructor. Fundraising for the first year of the program fell short, so Project Image debuted with only four photographers, instead of the planned ten. Participants were drawn from inner-city neighborhoods. Teens received photography training and acted as photographers and photojournalists over the course of the summer. Project Image documented the work of Boston youth organizations, particularly the Boston Youth Clean-up Corps. As the program developed, participants were also asked to create photo essays about issues of personal concern to themselves and their friends, compose written essays to accompany the photos, and keep notebooks for the duration of their involvement in the program.

Teen Images was a year-round photography business that grew out of the Project Image summer program. Founded by Project Image graduates Sharmaine Heng and Amos Todman in 1994, Teen Images offered inexpensive photographic services to community organizations and individuals. Youth photographers documented events such as weddings and took photographs for organizations to use in their own promotional materials. Teen Images continued to operate out of Boston Photo Collaborative facilities, hiring other teens who had successfully completed Project Image.

The Place Where I Live was a program of the Boston Photo Collaborative from 2003 to 2004. Little is known about the program aside from the photographs included in the collection, which document buildings and streets in Boston neighborhoods.

The Boston Photo Collaborative closed in 2007 due to lack of funding.


Boston Photo Collaborative is established.
Project Image paid internship program is established.
Teen Images is founded.
The Place Where I Live program is operational.
Teen Images closes.
Project Image program concludes.
Boston Photo Collaborative closes.


18.65 cubic feet (20 containers)


The Boston Photo Collaborative was founded in 1991 to address the lack of darkroom facilities in Boston, bring photography into the community, and improve access to the arts. Later, the Boston Photo Collaborative offered inner-city teens training and employment as photographers until it closed in 2007.


The Boston Photo Collaborative collection consists of materials relating to three of the Boston Photo Collaborative's programs for inner-city youth: The Place Where I Live, Project Image, and Teen Images. Publications and administrative records document the programs themselves: their founding, day-to-day operations, and interactions with the community. Photographic materials document other Boston community-based organizations, inner-city neighborhoods, and issues of interest to urban teens.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into 3 series: 1. The Place Where I Live 2. Project Image 3. Teen Images.

Technical Access:

One floppy disk in Will Spritzler's folder in box 9 will not open.

Physical Location


Custodial History:

The collection was donated to the Archives in December 2008 by Carl Mastandrea.


  • Crerand, Joanne. "Project Image: Teenagers learn photography through the Boston Photo Coop," Jamaica Plain Arts News, August 6, 1992. M160, Box 1, Folder 22.
  • Hubbard, Crystal. "Through photo class, teens gain new image," Bay State Banner, September 7, 1995. M160, Box 3, Folder 34.
  • Sloane, Danielle. "Choose to See," Jamaica Plain Arts News, August 12, 1993. M160, Box 1, Folder 35.
Finding aid for the Boston Photo Collaborative Records
Finding aid prepared by Dominique Medal
July 2009
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Snell Library
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US