I love it when one opportunity leads to other unexpected opportunities. Recently I took on a new client out in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, a mixed neighborhood of industrial and residential buildings. I head out there a couple of days a week to shoot images for a catalog; the subject matter isn’t all that interesting and it can be tedious. However, the end of the day is when I get to have some fun – shooting for myself and to my surprise building a relationship with the local community. It’s been an interesting summer.
The walk to and from the D train takes me down the hill on 58th street in the morning and back up again at the end of the day catching the sunset in Sunset Park. The sweet part of the day, when the mundane tasks are over, is when I get to explore a new, to me, neighborhood. With the kids playing in the hydrant flow on a sultry summer day, the parents, and local characters, all hanging out on the stoops as the street slopes up to 4th Avenue.
So, working up my nerve I shoot. Getting a bit closer, trying not be threatening, just framing and shooting. I figured it this way, get a few good images now, then print and share. It worked out. The next day, on my way back up the street I pulled out a few 5×7 inch prints and handed them out as neighbors gathered around. In this day of digital images and emailed photos having an actual print is becoming even more special – the physical, tangible quality is an amazing thing and the response to it is precious. What I get out of the exchange is trust. It happened to be another one of those dog days of summer and the kids were playing in the fire hydrant’s powerful flow of water, the folks of 58th street all out and about and me able to shoot at my leisure.
As the summer rolls on and the residents of 58th street continue to congregate on the stoops I get fist bumps and opportunities to shoot almost every time I head back to the subway after a long day in the studio. It is the sweetest part of the day.
Geoff Green is a photographer and Meeting of the Art Waters Co-Producer: geoffgreen.com
Friday, August 26, 2011 has been a gorgeous day here in NYC. Speaking of water, the New York Stock Exchange building has been sand bagged in preperation for hurricane Irene. Reports are that parts of the Financial District will have mandatory evacuations starting on Saturday afternoon, and the New York City subway will be shut down until Monday. Hope everyone along the east coast stays safe.
Jamie Smith is a photographer and Meeting of The Art Waters Co-Producer. http://www.meetingoftheartwaters.com