williamsburg bridge and the hipsters story


I've got published online at the "NYC Exposed" series of pictures of New York.
Three of my pictures from September 2009 are there, enriched with an interesting description that I'm posting below.

Here is the original article. You can check out all of my three pictures over there or wait until I re-post it on the blog.

Although Stan Baranski calls Poland his home, his photographic eye spotted some "only in New York" opportunities during a recent trip here. While most tourists would be busily pointing their cameras toward the steel beams above them or the cityscape sights beyond the bridge, Stan saw something far more artistic...and interesting!

The bridge itself is yet another iconic aspect of NYC because of street artists' penchant for using the bridge and surrounding areas as a canvas for their creative messages. It wasn't always that way, though.

The bridge opened on a crisp 25 degree morning on December 19, 1903. The overcast skies and scattered showers on that day provided a gloomy backdrop for a monumental engineering achievement. A fine example of structural expressionism, the Williamsburg Bridge would connect the Williamsburg borough of Brooklyn with the lower east side of Manhattan.

Today, the bridge carries more than just traffic. As Stan's picture above illustrates, the bridge has become a way of transporting ideas as well as traffic. In this case, though, Stan captured a message that represents a fairly divisive situation. The painted slogan, "Hispters Move Out", has something to do with the clash between newcomers and the area's long established population, much of which has maintained allegiance to traditional beliefs and ways of living. The Satmars of Hasidic Jewish heritage are on one side of the equation, while the "Hipsters" sit on the other side.

The Hipsters are the more recent artisan émigrés. Hasids vs Hipsters has become a sort of turf war of both words and intentions. Thus, phrase "Hipsters Move Out" is more than just street art. Regardless of how anyone feels about the situation, the picture really does capture an aspect of reality that exists in the City.

From a photographic viewpoint, Stan Baranski's photo is compelling for reasons beyond the interesting message that's stencil-painted on the street. There's really a lot going on in this picture. Stan demonstrates an articulate understanding of perspective. Take a look at the proximity of Stan's lens to the road surface near the bottom part of the picture. Getting close to the pavement along with a very short focal length (wide angle), provided for a distorted skew of the painted words. This distortion gives the eye a reason to linger a bit and then move up toward other elements in the photograph.

The muted reflection in the wet pavement provides a rich source of 'eye candy' and the red part of that reflection brings they eye upward toward the red railings and overhead trusses. Eye movement continues, as the rhythmic patterns of rails and trusses dance about.

As the viewer's eye follows the closing parallels toward a vanishing point, we rest at the lone figure on a bicycle.

This is exemplary photographic artwork and we are thrilled that Stan decided to submit his work to this exhibit!

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