Jul 23, 2011

Revisiting Red Hook

Recently I have returned to photographing Red Hook, Brooklyn, a neighborhood I have been exploring visually since 2003. In 2006 suddenly the neighborhood became very trendy, thanks to an Ikea and a Fairway supermarket, and suddenly folks from other areas began popping up everywhere---there were even boatloads of tourists descending upon the waterfront! Disgusted by the sudden popularity of the area, I put away my camera, for the most part, for a year or two.

This past year, I started seeing the old buildings and weed-filled lots with fresh eyes, in part thanks to the photography course I am teaching at the School of Visual Arts, Modern Ruins: Photographing Brooklyn's Industrial Landscapes. In the heat of the summer I took out the 4x5 and with the help of my assistant Alex began, once again, to photograph the neighborhood.

Seeing a project through over a long period of time is a challenge on many levels. It is not the same as making singular images, and it goes against the whole idea of trend in the art world. Something I have struggled with since finishing graduate school in 2008 is regaining a sense of 'poetic innocence' while picture-making---making photographs that are both spiritually and conceptually fulfilling. Finally I feel I am regaining that ground. It has been a struggle---this year I am a new mom, teaching a lot, and really thinking about my life's goals---but finally, I am remembering and re-appreciating what first made me love shooting architecture and its connection to the urban environment in the first place.

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