Deep Park
March 17, 2019 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Photographers often talk about making pictures rather than taking them: constructing something from the scene in front of the camera that is related to it but not subordinate to it. A photo of a tree or a soldier has a life independent of its subject. Bruce Polin began making these images in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park around the time of the last presidential campaign. He had been shooting mostly in his home studio, but when the divisive rhetoric of the election heated up, he felt the need to get out among strangers, from all cultures he could find. The park was ideal. The camera was big.

“I’m creating a personality or they’re constructing a personality, and it’s a collaboration,” he said. “We’re conversing. I detect a degree of self-awareness at times. They might adjust themselves slightly,” Mr. Polin said of his subjects. “Something is being created for the final image. It’s not that I’m trying to document something that I saw and I have to have that. The thing is built in layers over time.”

Many more images from his Deep Park project on his website.
posted by octothorpe (8 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
John Szarkowski, former curator of photography at the Moma, used to similarly say that pictures are more solved than taken or created. These are beautiful. Thanks!
posted by xammerboy at 6:41 PM on March 17 [2 favorites]


Saw this the other day and it’s even better on second look. Glad you posted it here. Really lovely images and project.
posted by chris24 at 7:09 PM on March 17 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting, just amazing! The monochrome format seems to stand in for colour-blindness all people as just humans.

Put another way, the images draw us in, we're not aware of our colour, just our humanity - well that's what this shows me anyway.
posted by unearthed at 7:59 PM on March 17


Disconcertingly intimate, as if they were pulled into his camera from a dream they were all having, about succumbing to gravity.
posted by Oyéah at 12:42 AM on March 18 [2 favorites]


If you want to see some of the cameras that he uses, there are a few pictures of them on his instagram. I can't tell from the article which one he uses for the park pictures but they're both very large format. Currently a 25 box of Ilford 8x10 sheet film costs $115 so each time he pushes the shutter button it costs him at least $4.50 before he even develops or prints.

Personally I do quite a bit of 4x5 photography which uses film that runs about 1 to 2 dollars a shot but 8x10 is a bridge way too far for me right now.
posted by octothorpe at 5:06 AM on March 18 [2 favorites]


If you want to see some of the cameras that he uses, there are a few pictures of them on his instagram. I can't tell from the article which one he uses for the park pictures but they're both very large format.

The square pictures in the series were taken with a medium-format Hasselblad. You can tell by the notches in the frame.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:18 AM on March 18 [4 favorites]


Thank you. Nice article. I'm passing the link on to a photography instructor who's working on explaining some of the benefits of film photography in a digital world.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:35 AM on March 18


I think in at least a couple of other languages I've tried to learn, you "make" pictures instead of taking them. German, for sure, uses "machen" (make) as the verb for photos.
posted by lauranesson at 9:23 PM on March 18


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