Ordinary Wonderful / Brooklyn Blacktop
Central Library, Grand Lobby
by Trevor Brown
My work strips the familiarity from the everyday, challenging the things we take for granted and elevating the often overlooked. The work's visual depth conjures an almost tactile sensation with its richness of color; depth of dark to light; and shades of yellow, browns and greens. By using the camera lens instead of a paintbrush, I create works that rival paintings with their stunning palette of colors, textures and shapes. The resulting series of photographs are both intimate and alien-close-ups of urban minutia which the incurious passerby might miss.
I am a self-defined iconoclast and have a non-traditional approach to my work and the world. I think it's my lack of technical knowledge that really adds to what I capture with the camera.
Trevor Brown has exhibited his work in Brooklyn at Classon Walls, the Rising Art Gallery, 440 Gallery, Myrtle Windows Gallery and Brooklyn Museum. His work has also been featured in publications including Studio Visit, The New York Times, My Little India, Brooklyn Rises and Inciativa Colectiva. He attended Ithaca College and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts.
Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn
Wave to the Future
Location: Clinton Hill
Honeycomb and Cotton
Location: Cypress Hill, Brooklyn
by Ron Hartley
This is the story of a city as told by the tin cans, bottle caps, plastic utensils, hairpins, traffic lines, oil slicks and myriad other things embedded in its blacktop. I'm often attracted to the associations these things bring: a crushed soda can that once brought refreshment to a dry mouth, a comb that once slid through freshly washed hair, a plastic knife or fork that helped make life work in a city that doesn't leave much time for lunch, an oil slick whose momentary beauty mocked the dreariness of a rainy day.
This photography is without people, but it resonates with the idea of people and their collective impact on the planet. It's a documentation of city fossils. Some are ephemeral, while others may be embedded in geological layers for millions of years. They give us an interestingly oblique look at life in Brooklyn in the first decade of the twenty-first century, but like all things that reflect light, they emanate a beauty of their own.
I love the irony of shooting these photographs. A trivial thing is thoughtlessly discarded or lost on a busy street or intersection, and years later I run out during a red traffic light wearing my fluorescent orange safety vest to shoot its remains as if it was the most important thing in the world. My adrenaline surge is not only due to the beautiful imagery in my viewfinder, but also because I must stay ahead of green lights so I don't end up like one of my crushed cans.
Ron Hartley was a staff art director at many advertising agencies and became a group creative director and senior vice president at Wells Rich Greene, New York. He has been honored in many award shows including the CLIOs, New York Art Directors Club, International Film Festival, Effies, ANDYs and CAMMAs. He earned a B.F.A. in advertising design from Pratt Institute.