The photos we’ve collected from our Spring Photography Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard reflect the huge variety of material in the yard. Over thirty photographers packed the bus on the morning of Saturday, April 20, and for two hours we buzzed about the industrial waterfront. An overcast day provided good, diffused light for the group, and their individual visions shined into the nooks and crannies of the yard. Throughout the following week, over fifty submissions to our Instagram photo contest trickled in. The tough task of choosing three favorites fell to Navy Yard-based artist Thomas Witte – but before we announce the winners, we want to thank all of the tour participants for exploring the yard with us, and all of the photographers who submitted their wonderful photos. Here are Thomas’ selections:
Sean Eno took a ground-level perspective of the yard — as if the viewer were the steel wheel of a rail car making a midday delivery (there was once 30 miles of functioning track in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and nowadays some of the old rails have been pulled and repurposed as sculptural bike racks by yard artist Michelle Greene). The foreground and background are blurred; the horizon line, however, is crisp, and it highlights the age-old Belgian block pavement left over from the early days of our country’s Navy. A hint of irony is provided by a blurry “No Parking” sign in the distance, and nine photographers stroll under a huge crane, which seems to have parked over them permanently.
Michelle Hoover captures the yard as a portrait, of sorts. The subject is no clean-cut naval officer from the past, nor is it a present-day entrepreneur or fabricator. The photo captures the timeless dynamic of human and nature: a large family portrait of warm colored gas tanks spotted with rust. The forms stand out from the gray background huddling proudly in a corner. You once could call this photo a still life, but rust in this context seems to me like a living thing that moves throughout today’s busy yard.
Rachel DeLetto looks to the industrial feel of the yard by zooming in on the same rusty crane that looms in the back of Sean Eno’s photo. She sums up this fragmented view of the crane as “vibrantly colorful decay.” Thomas admits in the comments on Instagram that the “cranes will always have a place in my heart” (they have been the subject of his own work, familiarly tower over his studio). In DeLetto’s photo, patches of chipped red paint reveal a light gray undercoat that mimics the only other subject matter: the sky. The background becomes a blue canvas interrupted by puffs of cloud. It’s simple and powerful, and a graceful summation of the spring tour. (Rachel is a contributor to Brokelyn, and you can find her work on Instagram or follow her on Twitter @raeinbk).
The photographers of the three pictures selected after each Seasonal Photography Tour receive two free tickets on any future tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard offered by Turnstile Tours, and their photos are entered into an end-of-year competition with a chance to win a private tour of the yard with up to 30 people. So we have half of our finalist selected already – see the three winners from our winter tour, as well as the other submitted photos.
Thanks again for all who participated in the contest. I have no doubt that all of your submissions are being appreciated as we speak. It is truly incredible to see the progression of the seasonal photos. I can’t wait to see the summer entries start rolling in after the July 20 tour, and stay tuned for the announcement of our next yard-based judge.
And remember to sign up sooner than later if you want to be on the next tour … there are only so many seats on the bus!
Turnstile Tours offers the Seasonal Photography Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard four times throughout the year – please visit the tour page for tickets and information. The next tours will be offered Saturday, July 20 and October 19 at 11am. Advance ticket purchases are highly recommended. We also offer our Overview Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard every Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm, and other special themed tours of the yard. All tours begin at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at Building 92, which offers free admission to three floors of exhibitions on the yard’s history, the Ted & Honey rooftop café, and a host of great special events and programs.
The post was authored by Rich Garr, manager of the Seasonal Photography Tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.