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Read Up Girl
​B&W SX-70

Read Up Girl

The Gowanus Canal


Living near the Gownus Canal in Brooklyn since 1999, I’ve witnessed this area go through changes from an industrial waste land to a slowly gentrified real estate project. I decided to document the canal and its surroundings before the grit and raw sewage gave way to expensive coffee shops, canvas tote bags, and screaming toddlers. I still can’t imagine wanting to live directly next to it. The term “up shit creek without a paddle” originally came from this short waterway.


The Gowanus Canal, once known for it’s delicious clam and oyster exports to Europe, eventually gave way to the Industrial Revolution. The industrial sector around the canal included gas plants, tanneries, paint factories, chemical plants, sulfur producers… the list goes on forever. It’s no wonder the waterway has a rainbow sheen that is sometimes quite beautiful. That is, until a storm surge washes the rainbow away with a tidal wave of brown raw sewage.


More recently, the Gowanus Canal has since been designated a Superfund site back in 2009, and the cleanup is still in progress. I have no idea how after all the trudging they'e going to fix the enormous sewage pipeline that dumps directly into the harbor. Also, I wonder what else they may find. I’ve heard stories about the canal being a favorite dumping ground of cement boots for the Mafia. With those stories in mind, I never walked around shooting without a friend to watch my back. At the time this area was desolate and spooky.


I decided to use my SX-70 polaroid camera to capture the grittiness of this area. I used Impossible Project film, which at the time, was very unstable. When Polaroid stopped making instant film, a share-holder decided to acquire the intellectual property and recreate the formula. They sold it to artists to test before releasing it as a true instant film, and man… it was unpredictable and very unstable at first. I often made several attempts before getting one decent exposure, and sometimes the emulsion would crystalize or bubble up. I also scanned them because often the image would fade away completely. I had this batch of B&W that gave a kind of sepia color, which I wish they still had. Eventually, The Impossible Project figured out the formula and today, they have a decent product. They even renamed themselves back to Polaroid. 

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Kentile Floors
B&W SX-70

Kentile Floors


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Couch Boat
​B&W SX-70

Couch Boat

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Gowanus Canal
​B&W SX-70

Gowanus Canal

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House Boat
​B&W SX-70

House Boat

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Bicycle
​B&W SX-70

Bicycle

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Sad Tires
​B&W SX-70

Sad Tires

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Death is Upon You
​B&W SX-70

Death is Upon You

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Junk Sale
​B&W SX-70

Junk Sale

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Salvage Yard
​B&W SX-70

Salvage Yard

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Ladies & Gentlemen
​B&W SX-70

Ladies & Gentlemen

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Under Smith Street Stop
​B&W SX-70

Under Smith Street Stop

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Coignet Building
​B&W SX-70

Coignet Building

Gowanus Canal are scanned B&W Impossible Project SX-70 Polaroid film.
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