Dec 24, 2008
Dec 22, 2008
Dec 14, 2008
It was quite a journey to get to Arthur Kill on Staten Island. I left my house taking the 1 Train at 6:45am. I got to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal an hour later and caught the 8:30 ferry across the NY Harbor arriving on Staten Island at 8:45. I had to wait for the SIR Train to come at 9:30 and I took it all the way south to Huguenot. From here I rode my bike across the island (10 minute ride) and I ended up at the site at 10:15.
After walking up and down Arthur Kill road, I could not find a way in. With all the traffic and locals out and about, I wasn't about to climb over the fence around the scrap yard that hid the boats. There was a house adjacent to the scrap yard which had back yard access to the boats but the owner had posted signs warning me not to trespass. I decided to give it a shot and just knock on the door. An old man with a funny look on his face told me he was so delighted that I actually asked for his permission that it would be his pleasure to allow me access! Sweet.
Dec 13, 2008
After the symposium, I made my way over to the Broken Glass exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York in East Harlem. This exhibition is up until March 8th and I highly recommend visiting.
I was fortunate enough to speak at length with Ray Mortenson about his work: I wish I were there in the South Bronx in 1982. (Although I was only four years old at the time) Ray took about 8000 photographs of the desolate, abandoned buildings in this area over the course of two years. The buildings had been vacated by their owners during a big middle class suburban manifestation, after which a rash of insurance fires took place, totaling at one point 30 fires per day. Ray would take the 5 Train to the south Bronx and with his 35mm camera and normal (50mm) lens to photograph the remains, shooting anywhere from two to ten rolls of film a day. He initially took only exterior captures of the buildings from street corners and from a pretty much, straight on angle.
Later, when he felt more comfortable entering the buildings, he began spending much more time inside of them and brought his 4X5 camera and tripod shooting five to ten minute exposures. I asked Ray what he was doing for work at the time and he told me that he was an electrician and construction worker. He spent as much time as he could in the South Bronx and any other spare time he had was spent developing his prints. He also added that he had actually printed the five large (4' X 5') prints in this show back in 1984. They still look amazing.
These days Ray is shooting a lot of nature photography and has begun taking architectural photos in Manhattan; shooting film of course. His work is on display at the Janet Borden Gallery. When asked if he is shooting digital at all these days, he laughed and said he's never been interested in digital and doesn't even own a computer. Ha!
I bought a catalog of his work in the exhibition, got his autograph and made my way to the 2 Train feeling quite inspired (again). I love this city.
Dec 8, 2008
Dec 7, 2008
Here is a 3 minute video I put together from yesterday's venture:
- Red Hook Grain Terminal Video - 26.8 MB (right click, "save link as")
Dec 4, 2008
Dec 1, 2008
Photo taken: Friday, October 13, 2006, 3:58:46 PM
After reading about Ray Mortenson's work this morning (see post from earlier today) this picture has greater meaning to me now, than it did when I originally took it. Funny how that happens.
More on this later...