The three winning photographers came from three different states to explore the Brooklyn Navy Yard on our Seasonal Photography Tour on October 19. And our contest judge, photographer Davina Zagury Feinberg, came to the Brooklyn Navy Yard from Thailand (via Israel and other spots around NYC) as a tenant four years ago. It is no surprise to us that the Fall Photography Tour and contest upholds the Yard’s tradition as a place where cultures collide.
Since it was established by the federal government in 1801, the Navy Yard has attracted people from around the globe. The site eventually became a center for technology and industry, and a place where the brightest minds in America would thrive. Famed folks like E.R. Squibb (from Delaware), James Fennimore Cooper (from New Jersey), and Matthew Calbraith Perry (from Rhode Island) set a precedent for collaboration and innovation in the Yard during the first half of the nineteenth century that still exists today. While “green” buildings and cutting-edge technologies dot today’s industrial park, the beauty of the Yard’s old infrastructure proves too sublime for photographers from any state of the union to resist.
Let me first present two of the winning photos, both of cranes:
Nasser K is originally from Iran, but currently lives in Massachusetts. His photo hints at active work being done by a huge Navy Yard crane. It is essentially a portrait. Dry Dock 1, one of the country’s oldest functioning dry docks, was coincidentally hosting a tug when our bus arrived. Rather than cramming the boat into this photo, Nasser K concentrated his lens on the singular majestic crane. The long boom reaches from its faded red body across the cloudy sky, where an empty hook and thick wire cables dangle. Its presence is a wonder in itself. But what is not shown is the dry dock below — it is outside the frame of the portrait, adding a layer of mystery. Nasser K’s website is full of great photography, including more photos of the Navy Yard and other subjects.
Omid Alavi is from Pennsylvania. He captured a scene similar to Nasser’s, but on the eastern end of the Navy Yard, near Pier G and the Williamsburg waterfront. As Davina noted, both of the crane shots are essentially portraits; Omid’s differs, though, because his is a “couples portrait.” It reminds me of a high school dance photo, with two young friends stiffly and awkwardly posing arm in arm. The tower of a NYPD fireboat stands in for the official dance photographer. It is a photograph of a photographer snapping a photo. A faded, slate-blue backdrop with a little bit of foliage at the bottom spruces up the scene. A wealth of Omid’s photography can be seen by visiting @oaphotograph on Instagram. Will you be one of his 11,000 followers?
As for the final winning photo: Davina’s proclivity for cute subject matter amidst complexity had me betting this one would make the winning mix.
Lifelong Brooklynite photographer Patrick Cashin was rummaging through weeds getting angles on some old architecture when he heard something behind him. The Naval Hospital section of the Yard was purchased by the city in 2001, and it came with cats. The cat that startled Patrick is particularly curious — known for initiating stare-downs and games of chicken with our tour bus as we pull up the hospital road. She’ll casually meander away once she delays the tour by about a minute. It’s as if she’s making a point that SHE is the reason we’re allowed into her yard, and that she’ll tolerate us just for a bit. In the photo, the cast-iron balustrades share the spotlight with the cat, which is all balanced perfectly in the landscape. In Davina’s words, “It’s just one of those magical photographs that makes photography so special — in all accord in the right place and time.”
Turnstile Tours would like to thank all participants in the contest no matter where they’re from. Your contributions were fabulous. Please don’t be a stranger! And whether you’ve been on a past photography tour or not, we hope you’ll consider our next one on Saturday, January 18. Each tour is always different, and it’s not just because of the seasons – the Yard is always ducking and dodging, and these tours are your chance to catch it.
And please stay tuned to our blog, as in the next few weeks, we will be posting information about how you can help us selected the People’s Choice photograph from among the 12 seasonal selections in 2013 – take a look back at the winter, spring, and summer winners as well.
Turnstile Tours offers the Seasonal Photography Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard four times throughout the year. The first tour of the 2o14 season will be Saturday, January 18 at 11am. Get more information here, and advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. We also offer our Overview Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard every Saturday and Sunday 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, the Ted & Honey rooftop cafe, and a host of great special events and programs.
The post was authored by Rich Garr.