Miles From Glitter Town

December 7, 2008 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

SHAI KREMER, a 34-year-old Israeli, has lived in New York since 2002. As a new arrival to the city, Mr. Kremer was struck by the contrast between the myth of New York, as seen in Manhattan’s towers and glittering lights, and the reality, as seen in the prosaic cityscape of the boroughs beyond.

A landscape photographer with a penchant for metaphor — his earlier work can be seen at www.shaikremer.com — Mr. Kremer has struggled to find a way to communicate this theme. Riding his bike along the city’s waterfront, he finally found a solution. He now photographs from the shore looking out toward the water. In the background of his images is often a miniature city of skyscrapers, while in the foreground is evidence of the harsher realities of urban life.

Two photographs best capture Mr. Kremer’s vision of New York: an image of a concrete wall in Brooklyn, which bears the word “More,” and a fragment of a pier in the harbor off Staten Island, symbolizing Manhattan, an island of aging concrete.

But Mr. Kremer’s photographs present more than symbols. At the city’s edges, he has found remnants of the past and portents of the future. On the shores of Brooklyn and Queens, he has photographed abandoned concrete hulks and scraps of metal — all reminders of New York’s industrial past. In Red Hook and Williamsburg, he has documented the gentrification of Brooklyn’s industrial neighborhoods. And along the edges of Manhattan, he has captured maritime outposts like South Street Seaport and the Intrepid.

What Mr. Kremer has discovered in his recent photographs is that the city is in a constant state of change.

By BONNIE YOCHELSON

New York Times: The City Visible

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