One more side effect of North Brooklyn’s rapidly mutating scene is the ramping up of “I was here when…” memories, which are arriving in shorter and tighter cycles. This means that the new, old neighborhoods are now garnering nostalgia with stories from recent history. And, photographs are a trusted way to collect these stories—”Take a picture. It will last longer.”
Two photography exhibitions on view now, Mara Catalán’s “A Place I Once Called Home: Williamsburg” at Picture Farm Productions & Sara Maria Salamone’s “From Ash To Apollo” at GCA Salon, appropriately locate and illustrate newer recollections of these moments.
Mara Catalán has been documenting Williamsburg and Greenpoint since the early nineties, and her photographs at Picture Farm are grainy, black and white shots that depict what most people who were here at the end of the last century tell people that arrived in this century—what the ‘hood was like back when they arrived. A location map accompanies the exhibit, placing these lively shots in their locations and adding an archeological aspect to them.
GCA Salon in Bushwick is open only on Sundays, and the brief viewing window suits the ‘nook and cranny glimpses’ of Greenpoint today. In this exhibition, giving no clues to this being Greenpoint is the point. It just happens to be today’s Greenpoint. No repurposed wood or tailored beer; this could be anywhere in America. The sheer vacancy of character is the connection to a larger place and time frame. In the photographs, discarded objects, like a freed heart balloon and shaggy telephone books, suggest the area as another Detroit. A lone figure appears in The Snowy Day: A child in bright pink winter gear holding a branch to the ground becomes the astronaut with a flag in this otherwise abandoned moonscape.
Picture Farm Productions is located at 338 Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. Mara Catalán‘s “A Place I Once Called Home: Williamsburg” is on view now until May 29th. GCA Salon is located at 119 Ingraham Street, #315 in Bushwick. ‘From Ash To Apollo’ by Sara Maria Salamone is on view now until May 24th.