04 November 2010

This is my final post. Goodbye Red Hook.
Raheem- who they call Petey- the most photogenic man I know in Red Hook. He appears in posts from 4/2/09, 1/16/09 and 9/19/08.Angela, who I met as she was on her way home from work last Friday.
Isabel, one of my old roommates, as we were moving out last Saturday.
The Brooklyn Queens Expressway. It's the northeast border of Red Hook and cuts the neighborhood off from the rest of Brooklyn. This negative got damaged on the bottom but I think it's beautiful.
V and Al. I met them while they were working on Al's car. When I told them about my project they were surprised that I'd had any luck getting anyone to pose for my photographs, as if Red Hook was too tough a neighborhood to trust a photographer. But then they were excited to pose for a picture themselves.
Two of the school buses that clog up the southern blocks of Red Hook, but sit here, like sentries, on a rainy morning last week.

30 October 2010

Happy Halloween Brooklyn. I took this early on a gray morning this week, and it seemed nice and spooky for the holiday. I moved most of my stuff out of my place in Red Hook today, so tonight will be my last night as a Red Hook resident and tomorrow will be the last post on Here in Red Hook.

29 October 2010

I've known this young man for a few years, and have photographed him before. When I saw him the other day with the painful-looking but beautiful bruises on his face, I ran up to my apartment to get my camera. By the time I returned he was surrounded by friends, relaxing. His friends were protective, but he said he was happy to be photographed and chose to keep smoking for the picture. I hesitated to post this, because the beat-up face and blunt in his mouth are so symbolic of many misconceptions and real concerns about young men of color in poor urban neighborhoods. But doesn't he have a hopeful and dignified glint in his eye?

28 October 2010

For our new picture of the day, we go inside the walls of South Brooklyn Community High School. This is James Perez, who is a minor celebrity in the world of New York inline skating. He's a really good guy. I've been his advocate counselor for more than two years. He only has a few more classes to pass to graduate and he and I both know he's going to do that this year. Click here to seem him skating.


The Prints Have Been Requested- thank you everyone.
Today I am giving away two pairs of prints of Here in Red Hook photographs. They are signed archival inkjet prints on heavyweight matte photo paper; each is approximately 8"x 8". If you'd like to own one of these pairs of prints, please send me an email with your name, mailing address, and which pair is your first choice. We'll call the top the "red pair" and the bottom the "blue pair." The first two people to email me will get the photographs. Send email to avernonjones@gmail.com.

27 October 2010

4 Days Left.
I think if I ever display my whole body of Red Hook work in a gallery, I'll make a big map of the neighborhood and plot the location of every photograph in the show. Until that day comes, enjoy this sample mapped location for the photo above:

26 October 2010

Last night I couldn't sleep and was reading Nueva Luz photo journal. I got really into the work of photographer Jane Tam. This morning I looked at her blog and saw that she had done a print giveaway, which seemed like a nice idea. So before the week is out I'll be giving away a print of one of my photographs to a reader (viewer) of Here in Red Hook. Check back often if you'd like to be the one to get it.
When I was photographing scaffolding last week this girl walked by with her grandmother and was curious about what I was doing peering down into the ground glass of my Hasselblad viewfinder. She was happy to pose for a portrait, but her grandmother was camera shy.

25 October 2010

I had lots of trouble deciding what to post today, but settled on these two reminders of the natural world. Whenever I walk along the path in the top image, which is usually several times per week, I'm reminded of the eternal ebb and flow of the tides, and of the oceans that cover most of our globe's surface. It's nice to get a reminder of what's beyond when you live in NYC, which can feel like the gravitational center of everything.

I took the second picture on October 12, the morning after hail the size of large marbles fell in Red Hook. During the storm I was lucky enough to be inside, but the assault of ice was a reminder of how vulnerable we are to nature, especially as our climate changes. The hail had knocked about half of the leaves off of all the trees in the neighborhood, and they carpeted the sidewalks like some kind of harvest.
This is Pat, who owns a house across the street from where I work.

24 October 2010

One more week to go.
This is Cynthia who lives less than a block from me, but whom I met for the first time last week. I love her tattoos, her sparkling eyes, and the exquisite wrinkles of her t-shirt.
(Click the photo to see more detail.)

23 October 2010

8 days left.

These are mostly about shape and color. But I'm also wondering what the heck that scaffolding could be for; it doesn't seem close enough to the buildings to have any use. The second picture is of the little pebbly beach in the park at the end of Coffey Street, where many bits of colorful junk have washed ashore.

22 October 2010

This is Ari with his dog Taco. Ari's headphones match Taco's leash. I met them walking by the water after school on Wednesday.

21 October 2010

I photographed this woman in 2008, on second day that I was trying out the Hasselblad camera, which I later bought. I didn't yet have the focusing down, but I was already in love with the thing, and how the neighborhood looked through its lens. She was sitting in Coffey Park, a stone's throw from where I live, and agreed to be photographed without pausing her cell phone conversation. I love her pink sweatshirt in the late afternoon light.

(Yesterday I dropped off five rolls of film to be developed and scanned, so by tomorrow I should have some new recent pictures to show.)

20 October 2010

Elia Kazan's 1954 film On the Waterfront was based on the world of Red Hook longshoremen. I just read that originally the film was going to be written by Arthur Miller and called The Hook, but the House Un-American Activities Commission pressured the studio to change Miller's script. Miller refused and dropped the project. With the new writer, Budd Schulberg, the title was changed.

As I get ready to move, I know the proximity the the water is one of the things I'll miss most, hence my posting another picture of fishing and the piers. In the foreground is my old friend Elijah Miller. Elijah is a songwriter who works at B61, a bar on Red Hook's northern border with Carroll Gardens. In the background, that faint point on the horizon is the Statue of Liberty.

19 October 2010

An ode to American food.
I shot these on the same day, two winters ago. They didn't excite me when I developed the film at the time, but they've grown on me so I'm sharing them now.

18 October 2010

12 more days of new posts to Here in Red Hook. Enjoy this one:

I absolutely love the waterfront in Red Hook. And I love talking to guys (and once in a while gals) fishing out on the piers. But I wouldn't eat the fish they catch straight out of Upper New York Bay. I guess that's what this picture is about.

17 October 2010

Today I start the countdown to the end of Here in Red Hook. In exactly two weeks I will move to an apartment about a mile from where I live now, outside of the borders of the neighborhood I love. I'll still be working in Red Hook, but have decided to end this project while I'm really still Here in Red Hook. For the next 14 days I plan to post a new image at least once a day, and on October 31 I will post my last post.

It's been so rare that I've photographed any male-female pairs in Red Hook, and I think that's too bad, because couples are great. I met these two young people one afternoon when I was out shooting with the photography class that I co-teach at SBCHS. I learned their names, but didn't write them down, and have now forgotten. The white, orange and black grocery bag tells me that they'd bought their snacks at Fairway. I love that detail because I don't think I've ever seen any teenagers from the neighborhood shopping in there. (Fairway is a gourmet grocery store on the waterfront in Red Hook).

04 October 2010

A storm two weeks ago took down this tree up the street from me, along with over 1000 others in NYC. During the storm I was almost struck by lightning on my roof-- but I wasn't-- so I was able to photograph this scene the next day. (As usual, the photo's better bigger, so click on it.)

This particular stretch of Henry Street gets referred to as "Puerto Rico Block", but a young woman I know who lives there finds the name somewhat offensive, so we won't call it that.

23 September 2010

It was swings and a mask on this August day after a rain storm in Coffey Park. I was glad I had b&w film in my camera because I think it makes the mask something more mysterious and the swing more timeless. Some of their friends were more cautious about being photographed by a stranger, but these two insisted on getting their moment in front of the camera and I appreciate that they did. (Tip of the hat to Ralph Eugene Meatyard- a photographer with a great name, who used masks in some of his photos of his family in the rural south 40 years ago.)

06 September 2010

This is Jermaine. I met him about a month ago, and recently I think he's started keeping his motorcycle in the overgrown lot next to my building. In the past I've met guys who have wanted their bikes photographed but didn't want to be in the pictures themselves. But I think Jermaine knew that he was at least as good looking as his motorcycle.

14 August 2010

This is Julio and Kerry- they're the same two boys who are filling the bucket from the fire hydrant in the last post- but this picture was actually taken first. I met them on a sweaty evening when the light in Red Hook was just glowing. They wanted me to take action shots, which (understandably) always seems to be the case with skateboarders I meet, but they settled for a portrait.

09 August 2010

Here are two views of the fire hydrant on Delevan Street that was open for more than a week in mid-July. First children were cooling off in it. Then people were driving their cars through the spray for a little rinse. Then the children got soap and buckets and set up a little car washing business. They told me they were raising money to build a skateboard park.

09 July 2010

On Columbia Street, just south of Lorraine, is this metal workshop. I've chatted with William, on the right, and photographed him more than once, but I've never learned exactly what they do. I plan to.

28 June 2010

This one you really have to see big- so click on the photo. Big dump trucks were crisscrossing this mountain of salt or gravel (in the north of Red Hook) against the backdrop of downtown Manhattan. I'd seen this of salt before, but thought it was a minor pile until the day the trucks were there and looked tiny on top of it. The only way to get the shot was to pull down the plastic covering this chain link fence and shoot through it... and I only had my little old Olympus camera loaded with long expired Kodak film. The result is a mostly obscured photo with an extra graininess and a strange hue, but I kind of love it.

22 June 2010

This is my bulletin board in my office at the school where I work (in Red Hook)- showing portraits I've take of some of my students- all of them brave and beautiful people. I approach these pictures differently than the rest of my art. They are a component of the community building and youth development work I do at the school. But I'm proud of the pictures, just as I'm proud of the young people in them, and they are Red Hook, so I thought I'd show them here.

02 June 2010

When I was out shooting a few weeks ago, these guys were playing ball- pitching from one side of Verona Street across to the other. The buildings on two sides of an industrial Brooklyn block present the perfect backstop and outfield wall (actually more like an infield wall) for a two man ball game. The ball they were playing with was a heavy rubber. Not a hardball- but I still wouldn't have wanted to pitch to this kid at close distance without wearing a glove to protect me from a line drive smacked right back at me. To be photographed these guys fell naturally into poses reminiscent of those on baseball cards or major league ballpark programs. They seem somewhere between men- with the actual swagger of a pro ball player, and boys- with innocent dreams of one day playing in the big leagues.

09 May 2010

This strip of sidewalk runs between West 9th Street and Mill Street, past the Police Athletic League building. I've been fascinated by it because it's almost always fenced off by a tall wrought iron gate, chained shut. (I had to stick my camera through it to get this picture.) Maybe it's blocked off to prevent people from from taking these barricades, which are collected there- themselves blocking nothing.

07 April 2010

This is Matthew who I met this afternoon, finishing up a roll of film on my way to the lab. He said he comes to Red Hook to serve on the Youth Court but lives in Staten Island. I liked that he was wearing a red t-shirt and carrying another one, and I think he has a wonderful face. (Click on the image to see him a little closer up.)

31 March 2010

My mother was just visiting from Massachusetts and complaining that they hadn't gotten any snow up there this winter. That made me recall that we had, so I went back into my winter images. The photo lab I've been using recently, Accurate Photo, is a real mom and pop place in Park Slope, owned and run by a Chinese family. When she was scanning these negatives, the mother in the family was excited about this photo, saying she liked the even composition. I guess I agree. This is Center Street, running through the Red Hook West Houses. (Blogger limits the height of your pictures, so these 35mm verticals show up really small. Click on the image to see it bigger.)

06 February 2010

Back in August I was watching some softball at the fields on Lorraine Street and these two boys were playing at the playground across the road. Of course the difference in size between the two of them caught my eye. It was a beautiful day, but nobody else was around in the whole section of courtyard outside these buildings. These guys were very intent on their games, but seemed happy to stop and pose for a picture.

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