06/13/2009:

The Greater Antioch Temple, Inc.

The Greater Antioch Temple, Inc.

I've been exploring Bed-Stuy the last couple of months. My eye is really drawn towards the street scenes on the main avenues-- Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Nostrand, etc-- the combination of people hanging out in front of old storefronts and street churches. I love that kind of shot.

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I really like your work, this photo is very strong, nice compo

I really like your work, this photo is very strong, nice compo

lovely theme for today

Interesting how the deeply urban areas of the large northeastern cities are so similar. This depressing scene could just as easily have been taken in Baltimore or Boston. I'm so grateful that my own reality is far removed from this.
Nice shot.

oh come on- this reality isn't that bad. bed-stuy isn't a bad neighborhood-- it's mainly working class, with big old brownstones, pretty good subway access, and more recently a fair amount of gentrification. anyway, my feeling is that once you get below the surface of any neighborhood, things are pretty much the same-- people eat, sleep, go to work, hang out, etc-- there's nothing more depressing here than anywhere else.

Nice shot! i like the contrast of a church with iron gates. That's city life!

What may not be clear from these photos is that Bed Stuy is actually quite a vibrant neighborhood.

I walked through big chunks of Bed Stuy for a couple months last summer and fall and found it really vibrant, with a lot of great street life -- I even made a few acquaintances for repeat visits and portraits. Both Jake and I don't usually shoot photos that capture a lot of people -- I think we both probably like to include a single person to add some perspective and life -- so the street life of these spots doesn't come across. I walked through a lot of Sunset Parkin the summer, as well, where people still love to gather on the sidewalk, where you still see a "Mayor" of the street holding court, and families getting out of a stuffy apartment to have a barbecue with neighbors.

These neighborhoods have they've survived all of the Disneyfication and StarBucksification that have homogenized other neighborhoods. I love that NYC still has neighborhoods that have resisted quick turnover. And as a bonus, with NYC being among the safest big cities in the country, I can explore neighborhoods and get to appreciate them.

So when I see a photo like this one from Jake, it makes me glad that my reality includes places like this.

I personally fail to see a single thing that is depressing about this picture. When I try to examine what emotion it does capture, nothing comes readily to mind. I simply see an existential urban moment. I like the fact that there is no litter or trash, that the paint is vibrant and in good repair, and that the next store has a waiting chair for someone to do the exact same as the subject in this picture. It's interesting how different people see different things; one an overall depressing image, one the juxtaposition of church and bars, and myself a waiting chair.

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