The results are in for our Brooklyn Navy Yard Summer Photography Tour! Contest judge and Yard-based photographer Amy Fronczkiewicz has picked her three favorite photos from this season’s Instagram submissions out of a total of 87 entries. Here they are in no particular order – drumroll please …
Amy had this to say about this entry from David Ziegler: “Strong graphic composition with a creative, clever use of perspective.” Amy paid close attention to composition and balance in all of her choices, and in this photo the placement of specific elements makes the image. Warm, earthy colors of the rusty hook bend to a point, where an ambiguous red triangle awaits. This sets off a cool background containing a more modern marvel — One World Trade Center.
On a Brooklyn-centric note, big hooks like this one remind me of Red Hook. Like the Navy Yard to the northeast, Red Hook once bustled with industrial docks and shipbuilding. Street art and signage all over the neighborhood pays homage to this past with the big red hook, from Red Hook Lobster Pound to the Red Hook Crit, the professional cycling race that rolled through the Navy Yard in June.
David Ziegler said of the tour, “I had a great time during the tour and a nice win like this helps validate my passion for photography.” His Instagram handle is @daz9nyc, and he mentioned that he found out about the tour from an app called Stash – we’ll have to get more tours on there!
The image below comes from TaraFawn Marek – the clean, straight lines of this balanced composition take center stage because the subject matter is less specific. If one wasn’t aware of the photo’s origin, its industrial nature might even fade away. For fans of abstraction and formalism, this image stands out; the grace of these cooperating lines, and the calming reassurance of the blue haze in which they float, would have made Piet Mondrian smile. Mondrian was an early father of modern art and the power of abstraction, especially balanced, straight lines. He once wrote, “Every true artist has been inspired more by the beauty of lines and color and the relationships between them than by the concrete subject of the picture.” He was, and is, an inspiration to many artists. Perhaps his most obvious legacy here in America is with the Precisionists who began photographing and painting in the 1920s, like Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth. Amy noted of this image, “Stimulating subject matter capturing the essence and deterioration of the environment.”
You can find more of TaraFawn’s work on her Instagram account, @thetfawn.
Finally, this piece by Wendy Ploger bears a striking similarity to Amy’s own personal investigations into history and deterioration in past projects, like her Ellis Island series. Chances to capture scenes with ancient-looking urban relics are a big reason photographers flock to the Yard. The mystery and beauty of this particular photo is enhanced by the uncertainty of place. Where exactly is this, and is it indoors or out? Perhaps more so than the other two winning images, specifics about this particular space are indeed relevant. The back of the old Naval Hospital has a fabulous overgrown courtyard. Once we know a bit about the vast history that unfolded along these chalky marble walls, this knowledge contributes greatly to the photo.
Wendy had this to say about her photo: “When I took that particular photo, I remember being a little spooked but intrigued at the same time. I’m always in awe of the power of nature and how it can take over anything man made in a matter of months/years. Being in an abandoned place that was once thriving makes one aware of the passage of time and how fleeting life can be. I definitely felt like I was no longer in Brooklyn, but rather some foreign environment, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to try and capture it with my iPhone and camera.”
Personally, I’m reminded of something that one of our guides, Doug Chapman, recalled during a recent Sustainability Bicycle Tour of the Yard. While walking around the hospital campus, he asked tour participants to think for a moment about the immense amount of healing that had taken place on the grounds. It is land where thousands of soldiers and sailors learned to walk again, often with one less limb – the physical and occupational therapy program at the Hospital became quite renowned, but it makes the struggles that took place on this land from the 1840s to the 1940s no less monumental.
As I gushed in our previous post, we are extremely happy to show off these photos. It is our job as tour guides to open up opportunities to think about places in a different way, to contextualize environments, and to facilitate greater understanding about our world. As we all know, historic photography is a great tool for this kind of learning. But contemporary photography — like that captured in the lenses of 30 tour-goers each season and spread through phones and computers around the globe — has tremendous effect. The photographers reflect creativity, beauty, and history in real time, and they achieve it in a way that words cannot.
We hope you’ve enjoyed Amy Fronczkiewicz‘ selections and the other submitted images (see all of them in our previous post, and check out photos from our winter and spring tours), and we want to thank her again for participating in this season’s contest. I think you will agree that each photo tells a few stories, and I have enjoyed giving my own two cents about them. We hope you can visit us at the Navy Yard someday to create your own meanings here. And if not, stay tuned to our blog for more wonderful pictures!
Turnstile Tours offers the Seasonal Photography Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard four times throughout the year – please visit our tour page for tickets and information. The last tour of 2013 will be offered Saturday, October 19 at 11am. Advance ticket purchases are recommended. In partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, 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 BLDG 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.
This post was authored by Rich Garr, manager of our Seasonal Photography Tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.