Brooklyn is where I was born, where I grew up and where I live. As a native Brooklynite this work is witness to a borough undergoing constant change, revealed through its various neighborhoods and the people who inhabit them.
It is my vision of the best of the “Old Brooklyn” fearing its extinction, living together with the “New Brooklyn” which has helped to beautify and keep Brooklyn interesting. The conflict begins when the balance is lost and the new extinguishes the old, creating something entirely different, which sometimes is not necessarily better.
Most importantly, I am always seeking the uninhibited and independent character of Brooklyn, which I hope will never disappear regardless of how much the city changes.
I started this project in 2007, at a time when things were just starting to change and before Brooklyn was trendy. From the beginning I had the intention to produce a book. The start of the series came to me through a very hard time in my life. In the summer of 2006 I woke up with debilitating vertigo, on the heels of a relapse of my tendinitis, which is another story for another time, but that was originally responsible for leading me from Illustration and Art Direction to Photography. I pretty much lived on the floor with nausea for a good year. Even walking up to the corner store was a problem for me and it was about 4 years until I started to feel like myself again.
During that time my husband would take me for drives through Brooklyn to get me out and to keep me positive. Air travel was impossible for me so I only had what was immediately around me. To get back into photography and working again, on a drive to Coney Island I decided to bring my Holga camera for the ease of use and it’s light weight. That day I happened upon a couple of Pin-up girls posing on the beach and a photo I took of them that day became the cover of my book project and the beginning of an idea.
Rooftop farmer, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
I started to realize that I could stay in Brooklyn and have so much to experience whether it was something that had always been there, something new that was popping up or a really unique event that was happening only in Brooklyn. More and more in conversation people would suggest the idea that no one is really from Brooklyn anymore and I would always proudly say “I am”, and suddenly somehow I was the exotic person in the room. So I wanted to show my vision of what Brooklyn really is through the eyes of a true Brooklynite.
I started to really love the spontaneity and quality of the images I could achieve with a plastic Holga camera filled with Medium Format film and thought the character of the images produced matched the character of Brooklyn. I loved shooting film again as well as the ability to carry around 2 or 3 cameras and a couple flashes so easily without the weight being an issue. It also becomes easier to bring these cameras into any situation or environment without worrying about something happening to them.
This series has been an ongoing project, which is about 75% done, so I still have a list of things I would like to include. Brooklyn is starting to lose its culture, as a new one is replacing it. I imagine I will somehow know when the work is done but until then, I feel the need to capture what I can while this is happening.