On the one hand there are fifty people I´d photographed at the Easter Parade 2015 on Fifth Avenue, between 49th and 57th Street. About two thirds of the portraits show people who attended the parade. The remaining portraits are passers-by, onlookers or street vendors. There are equal numbers of women and men. Typical of New York is the great cultural, national and ethnic diversity. With few exceptions I neither know the names of these people nor where they come from.
On the other hand I read the data of all persons who had arrived exactly 100 years earlier, on Easter 1915, at Ellis Island – the central point for immigration in the US. All in all I searched through more than 4.500 passenger files of 13 incoming ships between April 3rd (Good Friday) and April 6th (Easter Monday). About 1.500 of them were immigrants from 41 different nations.
For this project I combine every one of the fifty portraits, taken at Easter 2015, with the information I took from a passenger file from Easter 1915. Here is an example of one of these files:
Margarete Müller 2nd Cabin Passenger
Occupation: Circuit Performer.
Is in possession of 50 $.
Born 1883 in Berlin/Germany (32 years old at time of arrival).
Race or People: German.
Height: 5 feet, 5 inches.
Fair complexion, brown hair, brown eyes. She has no marks of identification.
She is neither an anarchist nor a polygamist.
She has been in New York in 1907.
She is in good health and is able to read and write.
Her last residence was Friedrichshain, Berlin/Germany.
On March 25th 1915 she boarded the ship Kristianiafjord in Bergen/Norway and arrived at Ellis Island on April 3rd 1915.
She has paid the passage by herself.
Her final destination will be Orpheum Circuit (Off Broadway Theatre) on 2nd Avenue near St. Mark´s Place, East Village, New York City.