Photo by TaraFawn Marek @thetfawn

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“Find Something Just For You”: TaraFawn Marek Offers Advice for Photographing Brooklyn Navy Yard

Having just crowed winners of our 2014 Brooklyn Navy Yard Photography Contest, we’re ready to dive into the 2015 season – the first tour is thus Sunday, January 25 at 11am, departing from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92.

• Get tickets for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Seasonal Photography Tour, Sunday, January 25, 11am •

As many of you know, each season we accept photo submissions from our tourgoers, and then we have a judge select their three favorites to be finalists in the year-end contest. In 2013, all four of our judges were professional photographers and visual artists who have studio space at the Yard. In 2014, we invited participants in the BLDG 92 Visiting Artist Program. Now that our Seasonal Photography Tours are in their third year, we thought that we would invite some of the past tour participants to judge.

So, for our 2015 winter tour, we would like to introduce the winner of the 2013 Photographer’s Choice Award, TaraFawn Marek, who told us a bit about her own work and experiences at the Yard.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

TaraFawn Marek: I grew up in central Connecticut and moved to New York 15 years ago. I work as a product and fashion photographer as well as a print and textile designer for a great company, Elizabeth Gillett. I’m also an independent film producer. 
What is your background in photography?

TM: I picked up my mother’s Nikon FG camera when I was about 10 years old. She’s a surrealist painter and would enlist me as a model for new ideas, working from photographs she took. I photographed her for her own reference when she was working on an image of bare feet walking on frozen winter ground. That photo series became one of my favorite paintings, a beautiful black and white study of perspective and contrast with shape-shifting hidden images in the snow. 

Credit: Jennifer Klepacki
Credit: Jennifer Klepacki

What were your impressions of the Navy Yard when you came on the tour?

TM: The Navy Yard is an incredible place and a New York City treasure. It has a dreamy, video game quality where each area, each “level,” is a different era you can investigate and capture. There are details hidden everywhere, in the foliage and around corners, like messages. The tour was my first time visiting and I wish I had brought one more long lens to focus on some of the unique, smaller details. 

How did get your winning shot?

TM: I was holding my camera as far as I could above my head and using a long lens, honing in on the details of the cranes. I love the ruggedness of machines, the kind of humanness they can have, and I was interested in seeing them in a more intimate way. They’re quite high above and far away from the landing where our group was collected. 

Photo by TaraFawn Marek @thetfawn
Photo by TaraFawn Marek @thetfawn

What recommendations do you have for photographers joining the tour?

TM: Find your own images, your own space. Interact with the expanse, the height or the closeness of the place. There are some readymade images, like really gorgeous, dark, crumbling buildings, that everyone will gravitate towards. Grab those shots, but then go to a spot where nobody else is – you’ll find something that’s just for you.

Are you working on any photo projects now – personal or professional – that you’d like to share?

TM: I’m finishing a series now of people in urban landscapes that explores presence and fantasy, what I engage in during long walks here in our city and when I travel. I’m in love with sidewalk culture and how it impacts our sense of individuality. I’m also in post-production on a feature film titled Pop Meets the Void about the problematic nature of making things and putting them “out there” that will start screening in 2015.

BLDG 92 Brooklyn Navy Yard Center logo

Turnstile Tours offers the Seasonal Photography Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard four times throughout the year. The first tour of the 2015 season will be Sunday, January 25 at 11am. Get more information here, and advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. We also offer our Past, Present & Future Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard every weekend 2-4pm, and other special themed tours of The Yard. All tours are offered in partnership with and begin at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, which offers free admission to three floors of exhibitions on the Yard’s past and present and a host of great special events and programs.