Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jose Gaytan's Gowanus

There are some wonderful photographs on display this summer at the BPL Central Branch.

Jose Gaytan has been exploring the greasy green Gowanus and surroundings; his landscape portraits of Brooklyn’s big sky country tell of his fascination. I am afraid his website is no substitute, since you really want to see the images in their large format glory.

Brick, abandoned factories, rubble, weeds, oil-slicked water, brooding skies: these are not the characteristics of the old sublime to be sure, but I think they are of a wider sublime. There are some old favorites here seen in new light, “light” being of course both literal and metaphorical. The concrete building at Third & Third hasn’t looked so good in a long time. Unsurprisingly, he too is fond of the Red Headed Gardner of the Gowanus, whose sidewalk garden delights at the Union St. Bridge. There are also some views on display of I don’t know what, which excites me, because that means there’s more for me to discover on foot in days to come.

Gaytan is intimately associated with one of this blog’s faithful readers, Knithound, which is how I learned of this exhibit and this star-making profile in the Times. Turns out her hounds are photographers' assistants.

Run, don't walk, says the Pump House Boys' logo, at the head of the mighty Gowanus.


knithound brooklyn said...

You went! I am so glad you saw. Thank you for the wonderful review. It's been an exciting few weeks around here. The pups are howling with delight.

Kenmeer livermaile said...

Way cool photo.

IN my experience (passive; I'm anything but a shutterbug) there are primarily two types of effective photos:

One kind encapsulates the object/setting in a bubble of idealized visual containment. Good images of things like bugs on plants, for example.

The other kind seems to tear the object/setting from itself, as if the camera exerted optical suction and peeled the visual veneer back slightly. Like your image of the graffiti on this post.

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giddy but firmly rooted