I have to admit to writing this with a bit of a smile because I believe that there is nothing more boring than someone writing about their own work, whatever it may be. First of all, it doesn’t really matter what I think about my work, it’s all ultimately out of my hands at this point. The work is the work is the work and the words behind it can’t and shouldn’t have any bearing on what anyone’s experience of it. But as someone who has worked hard to put this collection of images together for the public to view I feel I have a responsibility to account for the thinking behind the things I have chosen to photograph. I feel the need to state that there is both thought and intent behind every image here. That they are personal and have all come out of me with a combination of pain and elation.
For whatever it’s worth, I have enjoyed the process very much. These pictures are out of who I am and who I have become as a New Yorker who has taken photos all his adult life. My many years as a film lighting technician have sensitized the way I look at light and framing. I have always been fascinated how city and nature come together, in the park and on the curb. I love how they collide and they fight for dominance, how one will sometime takes the upper hand and how sometimes it’s a happy or unhappy synthesis. There is beauty and poetry in the unexpected and even the banal. I believe that we find a gift everywhere in our every day life and nothing is truly banal or even ugly. There is beauty in how the sun hits a garbage can or the back of someone’s shoe climbing the steps of a subway stair.
More specifically, they center on my life as a native resident of Park Slope and Prospect Park over the last thirty-something years. There are a few side trips to other parts of the city but most of the photos revolve around my home neighborhood where I came of age and raised a family. They represent the two lives I’ve had in Park Slope as a teenager and as a parent. Many of the black and whites are simple portraits of people and places that I have seen and loved every day. For the night photos I wanted a feeling of mystery that can come with imperfections like grainy blurs, bald overexposure and inky blacks.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that the color pictures have been taken with a digital camera. The very use of digital photography goes against my belief that we must value the last vestiges of truly mechanical machines in our world. Things like sprockets, levers, pulleys and pinions are all but gone from our every day life and yet they all happen to reside within the film camera. So going digital has been the price I have had to pay for having a portable camera with me all the time. I tried to bring the same accidental mystery to these photos as well as my black and whites. I want to, filling and cluttering the frame with lines shadows and reflections to the point of abstraction. I am trying to fight my initial instinct to “perfect” them or “clean them up” and to present them in an honest and un-doctored sense. They are basically snapshots, created out of love and humor for the little world around me. I hope you walk away from them with some of the same love.