Grid #1: Brooklyn

April 2013 – August 2015


These pictures are studies of the urban environment. They present an examination of outdoor spaces, forms and structures found within a few blocks of my home in Brooklyn, New York. These photographs are a continuation of an exploration of urban landscapes I have engaged in throughout my career.

While structures provide the form, I abstract each scene through precise framing without cropping. As these are pictures found and not made, I rely on the single available light source – the sun – and have intentionally shot on bright days to get the sharpest line, the deepest shadows and the most highly saturated colors. I purposefully over-saturate certain colors and manipulate areas of contrast in each picture to achieve a taut balance of forms that provides compositional tension.

Drawn from the great swaths of industrial wasteland in America, I find that these pictures are less about the individual places or objects and more about the engaging and beautiful abstractions created by their textures, colors and shapes. However, as photographs of real places they also contemplate the fact that so much of the American landscape has been debased.

These studies are influenced by the work of Charles Sheeler, a photographer, painter, and filmmaker I greatly admire; particularly his powerful and beautifully designed photographs and paintings of the Ford Motor Company’s Rouge River Plant. Sheeler said, “… our factories are our substitute for religious expression.” His pictures, virtually devoid of people, captured a moment when industrialism in America had become an overarching phenomena. My photographs, made less than 90-years after Sheeler, are neo-Precisionist views of our contemporary post-industrial landscape. I, too, carefully time my photographs so people are not included, but unlike Sheeler and many of his contemporaries, I am not marveling at the ingenuity of American industrialism and its promise of great power and wealth, but rather finding moments of beauty and formal balance in the remnants of Sheeler’s landscapes.

In effect, the photographs become representations of found objects too large to carry home.

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allan Markman

This series, the first one’s my favorite, are Brilliant! …and this statement: “the photographs become representations of found objects too large to carry home”–Wow!

Last edited 7 months ago by allan Markman
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