metafold.:.currency | ethan feuer // new work

136: liminal selects | nyc photo series________15 August, 2013

hey all,

hope everyone’s doing grand. i’m currently trying to gather together my last bits of hardware for a new digital editing process (and potentially drawing process). that should be up and running within the next few days; you can also rest assured that i’ve been hard at work on some prose stories, but i’m a bit hesitant to share them just at the moment (i think i need to work up my confidence on prose fiction). or maybe it’s a mark of my writerly maturity that i’m holding back my work. yeahhhh. that’s it!

in the meantime, in a desperate bid to maintain your attention while i fall behind on one project after another (anything that doesn’t have a paycheck attached–and some that do–i serially bungle to my best ability), i’m uploading my submissions for the aperture prize (spoiler: i lost). that’s okay! i really wasn’t expecting to win that one, and as with a lot of things in the world, it is necessary to kiss many frogs (almost wrote “frongs”, which should totally be a word). anyway, i selected some favorites from liminal and cobbled together some explanatory text (see below). feel free to reach out with comments / reactions (as always)!

Liminal originated as an attempt to familiarize myself with New York, a city in whose shadow I had lived since birth, yet rarely entered. I was fascinated with the city’s potential for instantaneous loneliness in the face of seemingly endless diversity and fragmentation. Everyone’s place was here, but how to find it?

What began as exploration through traditional street photography evolved into a researched documentary project, as I attempted to set down “true” or “real” boundaries between neighborhoods. In some cases, dividers are so concrete as a bridge (Roosevelt Island), or a wall (Navy Yards). In others, the transition is so amortized that it is barely perceptible (e.g. Clinton Hill to Bed-Stuy). Sometimes a neighborhood’s entire identity is recently manufactured (the Flatiron District), or has remained undefined altogether (Broadway Triangle).

Ultimately, between its urbanistic content and my own background, the project assumed a secondary fascination with architecture, which serves not only as a fossil record of the neighborhood (c.f. Park Slope and Bed-Stuy brownstones), but a wellspring of rigorous photographic tropes. Perspective-correction, subject-centrality, symmetry, and attention to detail and text play naturally against the incidental, uncorrected techniques of street photography.

The images I like best in the series, and the ones I’ve selected to enter for the Aperture Prize, are those that simultaneously play on these tropes of architectural and street photography, and express something endogenous, playful, or unique to the neighborhood.

115: the middle sea | landscape series________20 December, 2012

back from the middle east. jetlagged and impatient, and somehow glad to see brooklyn again. i haven’t (and won’t for some time) had time to unpack (photos, possessions, ideas) but i did want to look a particular string of shots i took before getting back to my life.

needless to say, not a lot of things are agreed-upon in the middle east — least of all names. but, to my surprise, the mediterranean (“midland” or “middle earth” in latin) is one of them. apparently, the greeks called it similarly: μεσόγειος (“mesogeios” or “middle earth”), as does modern hebrew הַיָּם הַתִּיכוֹן (hayam hatikhon, “middle sea”), and arabic (البحر الأبيض المتوسط, “white middle sea”). everyone agrees it’s the middle sea.