PDN Photo of the Day

Looking for the Soul of Brooklyn Through a Plastic Lens

What is the essence of Brooklyn? Valery Rizzo’s plastic-camera series explored that question for close to ten years in dreamy, vignetting-heavy portraits, street scenes and landscapes made from Coney Island to Greenpoint, from Park Slope to Bensonhurst. “I started working on the photo series “Brooklyn” before Brooklyn was an adjective and when things were just starting to really change around here,” writes Rizzo in a statement. At the heart of her series is the tension between the scrappy, vivid borough where Rizzo, a Brooklyn native, grew up, and the more placid and artisanal place it is becoming. Rizzo explores the borough’s rich diversity in portraits made on the street and in images of raucous public gatherings ranging from the Italian-accented Feast of Santa Rosalia to J’ouvert, the early morning procession that proceeds the West Indian American Day Parade. “I am trying to preserve what I can of its original, rebellious and uninhibited character,” writes Rizzo. “I fear its disappearance and suburbanization and see the project as a mirror of my own self preservation as a Brooklynite, who may also one day be forced to leave.”

Related Stories:

Running Down a Dream
Plastic Fantastic
Personal Work That Lands Assignments: Dustin Cohen’s Made in Brooklyn Project (for PDN subscribers; login required)

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