UNTITLED (NITRATES AND PHOSPHATES), 2010
Digital C-Print, 40" x 30"
These photographs are taken from a collection of images of the Newtown Creek, a small industrial waterway in New York City. The photographs are of the water at the Newtown creek; the surface of this water is evidence of its history. While the images are physical traces of this specific place, that specificity functions as the underpinning for a more reflective exploration. The images of water- containing chemistry, trash, and waste- suggest microcosms and macrocosms that embody patterns found throughout the cosmos, from atoms and molecules to stars and galaxies. The abstracted images inspire a sense of wonder, one rooted in a paradox between beauty and disgust. I am attracted to the space in this work where it is unclear whether one is viewing atmospheric elements comprised in the universe or man-made chemical elements; it is in this place that the images supersede the explicit history of the Newtown Creek and allow us to reflect on and build new meaning of the places we exist in.
While developing this work I was struck by the unusual and shifting physical makeup of the water. Articulating the material quality through the making of these images has been as important as the conceptual armature of the series. I have included two of these approaches in this portfolio. The first group of images are analog medium and large format photographs taken of the water at the Newtown Creek and the last five are contact prints made from projecting light through water from the Newtown Creek onto silver gelatin paper.