This past weekend I registered for a February 23rd portfolio review at the Bronx Documentary Center, which is located in the HUB section of the Bronx just east of 149th Street.
I went to my first portfolio review one evening back in 2009 at the School at International Center of Photography. Reviews were being offered as part of an open house event for photographers interested in enrolling in courses there. I remember that the gentleman, who looked at my work, was impressed by its scope and content but he encouraged me to purchase a DSLR camera – so that the quality of my images would be significantly better – and then, to reshoot many of those same subjects. At the time, I was using my 6 megapixel point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot A700. His recommendation was perhaps the greatest takeaway for me. While it was some time before I was able to upgrade my gear, it marked a significant step forward in my photographic development.
So, this brings me to this coming Saturday. I learned about the Bronx Documentary Center a few months ago and have been reading about some of the wonderful work and exhibitions that it has been involved in. I have been waiting for the right moment to check it out and introduce myself. Therefore, this portfolio review couldn’t have come at a better time. On Saturday, I will have the opportunity to meet and share samples of my work with well-seasoned professional photographers and editors from The New York Times, Getty Images, The New Yorker, Newsweek, and other preeminent organizations. As a Bronx artist who is yearning to gauge whatever potential interest there may be in my Harlem River Valley project, I’m hopeful that my review with this local audience will turn out to be very productive and instructive.
Now that my website is live finally, I feel ready to begin sharing my work with a larger audience in a more serious way than I have in the past.
Finally! After almost seven months of working on my online photography portfolio, it’s finally alive: www.duanebaileycastro.com
Not wanting to ruin the party, a few loose ends remain, however. For example, I need to upload a couple more images to my “Travel” section. Nevertheless, it’s a huge relief to finally make the website public after countless, tiring hours at my computer. I’ve been so fixated on creating the best possible viewing experience possible.
I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to your responses!
So, it’s official! The High Bridge will in in fact be restored and reopened.
On Friday, January 11th, Mayor Bloomberg along with city officials, such as my Congressman Jose Serrano, gathered at the Highbridge Park’s Bronx entrance to the span to announce the groundbreaking of this historic crossing. According to DNAinfo.com, the $61 million dollar project is expected to be completed in 2014.
This past Saturday evening, I photographed the span from the Harlem River Speedway and it was clear that the restoration work had begun.
On a very sad note, however, only a few days after the mayor’s announcement an engineer working on the bridge fell and died. The cause of his fall is still under investigation.
Here’s a fantastic new find! It’s a wonderful illustrated view of the Harlem River reportedly from Fort George, which was the site of a popular amusement park that bore its name. Beginning in the foreground is the Washington Bridge and then, continuing south is the High Bridge, followed by what I believe is the no-longer extant Putnam Bridge, and ending with the distant Macombs Dam Bridge. King’s View of New York was one of several popular guidebooks by editor and publisher, Moses King, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Harlem River from Fort George (King’s Views of New York), 1915
This image was reprinted in color and sold as postcards too!
Here’s a wonderful brief video produced by PBS’ online video series – The City Concealed – that focuses on the High Bridge, the oldest existing bridge in New York City. Restoration work was supposed to have begun by now, but from what I can see during my recent visits there no work has yet started.
Here are two more fascinating photographs of athletic competitions at and nearby the Harlem River during the turn of the last century. Amazing images!
Boat Club Parade, Harlem River (1902), Unknown
Polo Grounds (1910), Unknown
In my extensive research of the Harlem River, I have learned a lot about its role in the political, economic, and social history of New York City. At the same time, I’ve also made a concerted effort to learn about its artistic history (not surprisingly). How have artists – both past and present – tried to represent this part of of the city? As a photographer, it’s surprising that I hadn’t thought to explore how past photographers (in particular those from the late 19th and early 20th centuries) answered this question. Until this epiphany, I had focused solely on painters, illustrators, sketch artists, and others of which there are many. I’ll write more about this in a future post. Photography, however, was added into the mix after I stumbled upon this remarkable photograph – High Bridge and Washington Bridge (1890) by William Henry Jackson – online. Romantic and grand, this image by Jackson is a gem. All that I know about Jackson so far is from what I found on Wikipedia, so I’m curious to learn more about him and what may have brought him to the banks of the Harlem River in 1890. According to Wikipedia, he was a famous photographer of the American West.
High Bridge and Washington Bridge (1890) by William Henry Jackson