AFTER FIVE YEARS OF DOCUMENTARY FILM-MAKING, PARK SLOPE RESIDENT NATHAN KENSINGER has, with admirable success, added still photography to his repertoire. This new hobby has landed him an exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library, a photo in Brooklyn Museum’s Click! exhibit and several new compadres in the sphere of New York photography. Kensinger’s favorite subject: Brooklyn’s fading industrial waterfront.
What was once America’s most vital waterfront is now at the top of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Most Endangered” list, and Kensinger has a personal and artistic investment in its degeneration. He grew up within view of the San Francisco Navy Yard, to which he attributes his early fascination with the edges of waterfront cities. After studying documentary filmmaking in Massachusetts, he moved to Brooklyn six years ago and now lives two blocks from the Gowanus Canal.
The exhibition of Kensinger’s photographs on display in BPL’s lobby, titled “Twilight on the Waterfront — Brooklyn’s Vanishing Industrial Heritage,” features rare indoor photographs of the Domino Sugar Refinery and Admiral’s Row. In a quirky twist, the exhibition opened the same day as IKEA, and will run until August 30.
In his own words: “My photographs bring you inside places you may have walked by a thousand times and always wondered about. These fenced-off factories, refineries and shipyards lining our waterfront are often beautiful and full of surprises … Many of the places in my photographs have already been torn down as the pace of development quickens.”
Kensinger’s work is also inspired by the anonymous photographers of the international Urban Exploration movement who explore tunnels, factories and military bases — the off-limits parts of cities — to document the “true history of the urban landscape.” He has become friends and explored with several of these guerilla documentarians. For more information, see www.kensinger.blogspot.com
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IN OTHER NEWS:
HOMER FINK at BrooklynHeightsBlog.com reported that the “As the World Turns” episode filmed in the Heights, in which the St. George Hotel has a cameo, ran on CBS on July 7. A clip can be seen on the blog, which may be sufficient for most.
NEW GREENPOINT GRAFFITI ART SUPPLY STORE ALPHABETA, owned by 24-year-old LEIF McILWAINE, is generating a culture clash, reported Art Info, in a story picked up from AM/New York. McIlwaine says he understands the controversy, but insists he will not sell paint to minors. He is hoping to build legit clientele for a legit genre of artists.
Councilman PETER VALLONE from Queens can’t see any good in graffiti; he has said mid-debacle that any store that glorifies graffiti is the equivalent of a criminal supply shop. “How naïve does he think we are? There is not enough of any legal graffiti to support a store.” And the dispute goes on. The store has 800 square feet of retail space and a 5,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor gallery, which will be used for shows and as a space for graffiti artists to paint.
SPOTTED IN DUMBO: AMERICA FERRERA! Drawn from the West by New York’s recently sweetened production tax credits, “Ugly Betty” filmed its first New York day at Empire Fulton Ferry State Park on Tuesday. Amy at FilminginBrooklyn.com, who frequently chats with film crews, reports: “According to Ugly Betty’s assistant location manager, Joshua Shull, they had originally wanted to film on New York City park land, but Mayor Bloomberg has put an embargo on filming in waterfront parks until October, due to the throngs of people expected at the waterfront to see the waterfalls exhibits.
(FilminginBrooklyn couldn’t help but notice the lack of crowds at the waterfall under the Brooklyn Bridge.) Luckily, the great people at the State Parks Department were more than happy to help with a waterfront location, which is how the production ended up at Empire Fulton Ferry State Park.
Amy also spotted the “Gossip Girl” crew at swanky health club Eastern Athletic on Clark Street on Wednesday.