Blind to Bushwick’s Beauty

bushwickphotoessay.jpgTime Magazine has rehashed the same sad story about a bad ass gangsta image of Bushwick. A recent photo essay, “Hard Times in Brooklyn: A Serbian photographer discovers the mean streets of Bushwick” fixates on the violent exotica of my neighborhood. It tells a story about:

  • “Mean Streets” overwrought with nothing but violence,
  • gun-toting madmen (always men),
  • faceless legions of Hispanics,

…and then again, what is there to “discover” anyway?Natives“?

In the 1990s, Mayor Rudy Guiliani used the dangerous Bushwick to project his fantasia of a crime-free New York onto the notorious neighborhood. Today’s a different time, not as dangerous as people think, it is full of Asians, Eastern Europeans, West Asians, Italians and a rainbow of artists.

bushwickphotoessay3.jpgThe old notions are tired and out of touch. Thanksfully a more diverse concept is emerging. One of the neighborhood’s LGBT blogs, Boy in Bushwick, wrote about “Gay Pride in Bushwick” this year and suggests another image of the neighborhood is emerging:

“Bushwick is starting to mirror the East Village quite a bit,” he said. “There’s a very diverse crowd of bohemian artist types. The gay people here are more like the East Village type as opposed to Chelsea.”

bushwickphotoessay2.jpgThe photographer of the Time Magazine piece, Boogie, said that he started shooting Bushwick and Bed-Stuy because there was nothing to shoot in his home neighborhood in Williamsburg-–ya gotta be kiddin’ me.

I just wish he tried harder to crack the surface of what look like his own fears.

I’m really disappointed that PowerHouse Books published this one last year into a coffee table book called It’s All Good…I don’t know what they were thinking.


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