Bruce Polin

Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

“Deep Park” was born from my need to create something meaningful in the face of pervasive and inescapable political ugliness. Civil dialogue no longer seemed to be valued. It's no coincidence that my need to leave the insularity of my studio and go out to connect with "strangers" began in earnest during the campaign that led up to November, 2016. This series of portraits has been a very organic and physical reaction to the polarization that has enveloped this country since before the presidential election.

“Deep Park” is an ongoing series of portraits of strangers I encounter in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY. The people I photograph become invested in the slow and mechanical process of using old and outmoded 8x10” film camera gear. It becomes a collaborative effort as we talk and investigate each other. It is in this respect that my choice of gear was very specific. I knew that it would affect my encounters in a very particular way.

Prospect Park is the optimal microcosm of New York City’s diversity. My use of its natural assets as a backdrop somehow imparts additional political resonance, given that our public lands and environmental protections are eroding by the minute and climate change denial is now, incredibly, a governing principle. The park is a vast organism, fertile, with secret winding paths, and infinite textures and sounds. There are many unique 'neighborhoods' within it. It is very nuanced, just like the people who come to it.

The making of the photograph informs the final image. The process can effectively isolate us, as if an invisible room takes form around us. It all happens in a public space. I’m fascinated by how we construct private spaces within larger public spaces. It’s in these private spaces that we can safely forget who we are “supposed” to be. I tend to look for people who might already be in that space, and I approach them with care, trying not to break what they have built. That’s a good starting point.

Stephen & Dominique

Allie

Peter & Sandino

Vi

Somer & Moe

Bob

Jackson & Marilix

Jaime & Missy

Talia

Andra & Akeem

Stephen & Dominique

Allie

Peter & Sandino

Vi

Somer & Moe

Bob

Jackson & Marilix

Jaime & Missy

Talia

Andra & Akeem