Brooklyn Photographs, 1960S TO THE PRESENT

Brooklyn Photographs, a group exhibition featuring the work of eleven photographers

Brooklyn Photographs, 1960S TO THE PRESENT

BRIC presents Brooklyn Photographs, a group exhibition featuring the work of eleven photographers who have captured life and traditions in various Brooklyn neighborhoods from the 1960s to the present, on view from Thursday, September 7 through Sunday, October 29, 2017.

Brooklyn Photographs epitomizes BRIC’s commitment to offering rigorously curated exhibitions with a rich cross-section of ideas, voices, and artistic media that reflect Brooklyn’s diversity.

Curated by Elizabeth Ferrer, BRIC’s Vice President of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Photographs is in the Gallery at BRIC House (647 Fulton Street), Downtown Brooklyn’s largest contemporary art gallery. An opening reception will take place on Wednesday, September 6,2017, from 7-9pm, and is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, 12-6pm, and closed Mondays. Gallery admission is free. Group and individual tours are available on Wednesday mornings at 11:30am. Free public programs will take place in conjunction with the exhibition.

Each of the photographers featured in Brooklyn Photographs contributes a body of work on a specific theme, such as childhood in Williamsburg in the 1960s, Halloween in the South Slope the 1970s, or Bushwick street life in the 1980s. Photography from the last decade explores such subjects as the rapidly gentrifying post-industrial landscape, Brooklyn artists, and the microcosm of street life near BRIC House, BRIC’s arts-and-media facility at the intersection of Fulton and Flatbush.

In sum, the exhibition illuminates the important role that photography has had in preserving aspects of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods and traditions, and in documenting the extraordinary cultural and social diversity that is a hallmark of the borough. It also reflects the borough as a site of continual change, where neighborhoods transform and new populations emerge, and where there is continual tension between the borough we know and what it is becoming. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue and public programming.

Elizabeth Ferrer, Vice President, Contemporary Art, at BRIC said, “With some 75 photographs spanning the period from the late 1960s to the present day, this exhibition presents a remarkable panorama of life in Brooklyn among diverse communities – Bushwick, Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Crown Heights to name a few.  All of this work documents moments in time that have largely disappeared, thus manifesting a fundamental reality in our borough – change.  Nevertheless, throughout these images we see a remarkable sense of humanity and optimism, a sense of Brooklyn in continual evolution.”



Yolanda Andrade

Part of the generation of artists who helped establish photography as an art form in Mexico, Yolanda Andrade’s documentary photographs capture urban life across cultures. From her black-and-white photographs of Mexico City from the 1970s to early 2000s, to her current digital images of cities around the world, Andrade’s work examines urbanity as subjective, thanks to the influence of globalism and mass media.

In Brooklyn Photographs, Andrade exhibits recent photographs of Brooklyn that focus on elements of American consumer culture. Building off the gaudy colors of the consumer environment, she photographs everyday people in culturally iconic spaces toevoke universal narratives of loneliness, friendship and family, while also capturing spaces on the precipice of change. Her photographs connect Brooklyn to a global metropolitan culture that, although in a state of constant flux, manifests similarities across time and place.

Yolanda Andrade’s work has exhibited in solo and group shows at El Museo del Barrio, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; Luckman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; the Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; and the Museu de Arte Moderna, Sao Paulo, Brazil;  Her work is in the permanent collections of institutions such as El Museo del Barrio, NY; the Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Numerous books of her work have been published, including Pasión Mexicana (Casa de las Imagenes, 2002), Visiones Paralelas (Alianza Francesa de México, 2008), and A Través del Cristal (Artes de México y el Mundo, 2009). She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, and was formally trained at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY.

Stefanie Apple

Stefanie Apple became interested in photography at an early age, spurred by her mother’s passion for the medium. Although she now works with digital photography, Apple began with film photography.

Her project, An Informal Residency, was begun in New Orleans, where Apple took portraits of local artists in their studios, and has continued in New York.

In Brooklyn Photographs, she exhibits this new body of work for the first time. Taken in the studios of local Brooklyn artists, her intimate images speak to the nuanced relationship that artists have with their communities and creative spaces.

In photographing artists, who are often seen as a gentrifying force, her work addresses both the need for affordable spaces for artists and the resulting impact of this need on neighborhoods.

Stefanie Apple’s photography has been exhibited at the May Gallery in New Orleans. She has worked with notable artists such as Judith Bernstein and has completed numerous freelance and commercial projects internationally. She holds  BS and AAS degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology, NY.

Nelson Bakerman

Born and raised on the Jersey Shore to parents who were boardwalk concessionaires, Nelson Bakerman was first introduced to photography by the organ player in the house band of his parent’s bar. He cut his teeth photographing the patrons while bartending. Bakerman took his first formal class in 1972, and recalls that he, “was hooked the first time I saw the image emerging from the print in the developer tray.” Apart from a couple of night classes, Bakerman is largely a self-taught photographer. Since moving to New York in 1976, Bakerman has become a highly versatile photographer who has worked in still and video formats, has created conceptual projects, and has produced major documentary series.  In 1988, Bakerman began photographing skyscraper construction, documenting the post-industrial spaces in transition.

In Brooklyn Photographs, Bakerman exhibits photographs from his Barclays Center series. Shot over five years, he photographed the space construction workers, chronicling how the building changed throughout the construction process. His images act as an archive of the center, while also speaking more broadly to the nature of development and change in post-industrial urban landscapes and the communities that live and work in them. Throughout his career, he has noted that, “over time, only the technology and equipment has changed, but the trades and the work involved have stayed the same.”

Nelson Bakerman’s photography has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, and MetroTech, both Brooklyn; the Children’s Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography and the New-York Historical Society, all New York; and the Lishui Museum, Lishui, China, among others. His work is in the permanent collections of institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art; International Center of Photography, The New-York Historical Society, The Richard Avedon Foundation, all NY; the Musee D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France; and the Lishui Museum, Lishui, China. He currently teaches at the International Center of Photography, NY.

Leigh Davis

Using photography, video and installation, Leigh Davis’ work navigates the dynamics of spaces on the individual and community. Both personal and anthropological, her photographs examine a broad range of experiences and spaces, from the members of a declining religious order to inhabitants of gentrifying neighborhoods. Rooted in an “all-consuming curiosity about a specific person, community, or place,” Davis’ work carefully investigates how spaces reflect and reflect on their inhabitants.

In Brooklyn Photographs, Davis exhibits work from her Residence series. Completed over the course of three years, the series explores the spaces of various women living in the YWCA residence hall in Downtown Brooklyn. In order to gain access to these spaces, Davis spent over two years integrating herself into the life and culture of this community. Through her personal relationships with residents, she was able to photograph their spaces, resulting in intimate photographs that speak to both the rooms themselves, while “implying a larger narrative about the women who live there.”

Leigh Davis’ work has been exhibited at Open Source Gallery and BRIC Rotunda Gallery, both Brooklyn; the Shelia and Richard Riggs and Leidy Galleries at the Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art, Baltimore, MD; Porch Projects, Washington, D.C.; and FOFA Gallery at Concordia University, Montreal, QC, among others. She is currently an adjunct professor at Parsons, The New School for Design in New York. Davis holds a BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design and an MFA in Studio Arts and Photography from Concordia University, Montreal, QC.

Russell Frederick

Long before the gentrification of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Russell Frederick has photographed the neighborhood as he saw it: a culturally diverse community of unique individuals with a rich history. A self-taught artist, Frederick shoots on medium-format film. He prefers to work in black-and-white, as a way to “simplify things in a way that may seem artistic or nostalgic, but is most of all just timeless.” Beginning in 1999, his work has focused on showing Bed-Stuy in a way that counters images of violence. His commitment to sharing and cultivating the positive in his community is further demonstrated by his work as Men’s Program Director with the Kings Against Violence Initiative where he mentors young adults, and is a member of Kamoinge Inc., a collective of African American photographers in New York who focus on documenting the African diaspora.

In Brooklyn Photographs, Frederick exhibits four prints that span his 18-year career. His portraits may evoke a feeling of nostalgia while simultaneously asserting that they do not in fact show another world, but the true heart and citizens of Bed-Stuy. He captures “people as they are, just informing the world, challenging people to think a bit differently ... not being the voice of people but giving a platform to the people in the community—my camera records all the greatness I see.”

Russell Frederick’s work has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, Slate Magazine, Vice and in The Associated Press. He was invited to join the White House press corps to photograph President Barack Obama when he visited Brooklyn in 2013. His work has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts and BAM, all in Brooklyn; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NY; the Reginald Lewis Museum of Baltimore; the Goethe Institute, Accra, Ghana, among others. Frederick has received awards from the Open Society Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Urban Artists Initiative Fund.

Max Kozloff

A photographer whose work compasses portraiture and street photography,, Max Kozloff has created bodies of work that explore the relationship between the individual, culture, tradition and place. Having spent the first half of his career as an art historian and critic, notably as an editor at Artforum from 1964 through 1977, he became interested in photography as “an ascended visual domain, the major visual communication channel of the 20th century.” Since shifting focus toward his self-taught photography practice in 1976, Kozloff’s work presents viewers with a broad range of experiences and subjects, mostly in New York, but also internationally.

Brooklyn Photographs displays work from Kozloff’s West Indian Carnival series. He photographed the event, an “invitation to immerse [himself] in a chromatic swirl of life, the excitement of which could not be matched by any other metropolitan festival,” for 20 years. In a unique style of street photography, Kozloff looks beyond the main event to photograph the outskirts. His subjects are the parade-goers as they take a break and grab food, the stilt-men as they lean against a car to relax. By focusing on the periphery, his photographs show the mundane and the incidental as elemental aspects of the event.

Max Kozloff has exhibited work at Steven Kasher Gallery and Higher Pictures, both NY; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, VA; the Sweeney Art Gallery at University of California, Riverside; the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA; and Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan, Italy, among others. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, and has published numerous art historical books, including Photography and Fascination: Essays (Addison House, 1979), The Privileged Eye: Essays on Photography (University of New Mexico Press, 1987), and New York: Capital of Photography (Yale University Press, 2002). Kozloff holds a BA and MA from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in Art History from New York University.

George Malave

Rooted in the American tradition of street photography, George Malave’s work blurs the line separating cityscapes and social narrative. Concerned with, as he puts it, “the way people use the street and the way the street uses people,” his photographic essays offer a lyrical view of New York. Malave’s interest in giving other immigrants a creative platform led to his co-founding of the non-profit En Foco in 1974 with other Puerto Rican photographers in New York with the goal of sharing images of Puerto Rican culture that countered the popular narrative of inner city life.

In Brooklyn Photographs, Malave presents works from his first series, Varet Street Kids. Shot over two years in the late 1960s as part of a college project, the work focuses on the children—mostly Puerto Rican migrants like Malave—who lived near the block he grew up on in Williamsburg. Showing them on the streets and in vacant lots, Malave captures moments of play, surrounded by the desolation of an impoverished area. The children are shown as inhabitants of a community that, for better or worse, was theirs. The resulting images are affectionate, intimate portrayals that capture the nuances of life in poverty in Williamsburg long before gentrification, and document the spaces that now “live-on only in the memories of those who experienced these places and times,” he explains. “The photographs have now become part of our collective memory.”

George Malave’s work has been shown in group exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, Museum of the City of New York, and Bronx Museum of the Arts, all NY; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; El Paso Museum of Art, TX; and others internationally. His photographs are part of the permanent collection of the New York Public Library. Malave has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been a Creative Artist Public Service Fellow. He holds a BAin photography from the State University of New York, Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Meryl Meisler

Meryl Meisler’s photography transposes her across seemingly polar social groups to produce rich, varied imagery that creates a dimensional record of her chosen milieu. From Jewish identity in Williamsburg in the late 1970s, to the glamour of Studio 54 and other Manhattan discos in the ‘80s, her photography constructs the visual identity of a community in a specific era.

Meisler began photographing in Bushwick in 1982, when the neighborhood was known for the vestiges of buildings and homes destroyed during the 1977 blackout. In Brooklyn Photographs, Meisler shows that there was still a vibrant community, which Meisler got to know over the course of her long career art teacher at I.S. 291. The contrast between her students and the fragile impermanence of dilapidated buildings interested her as a record-keeper. She describes feeling that she was meant “to document the rhythms of the city and the struggle in Bushwick when the ashes cooled.”

Meryl Meisler has exhibited her work at the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Dia Art Foundation, the New Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, all NY; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, and in such public spaces as Grand Central Terminal and throughout the NYC subway system. Her work is in the permanent collections of the American Jewish Congress, Columbia University and Brooklyn Historical Society, all NY; Emory University, Atlanta, GA; and the Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France, and others. She has received fellowships and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Puffin Foundation, Artists Space, C.E.T.A., and the China Institute among others. Bizarre Publishing has published two books of Meisler’s photography, Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ‘70s Suburbia and the City and A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick. She holds a BS in Art Education from the State University of New York atBuffalo, and an MA in Art from The University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Patrick D. Pagnano

An inveterate street photographer, Patrick D. Pagnano ventured out daily with his camera after moving to New York from Chicago in 1974, Pagnano developed a practice rooted in a kind of stream of consciousness, following what he describes as “visual clues” to guide him to his subjects. He immerses himself in the subject, shooting individuals in either the same space or type of event over time, a reflection of his belief in the importance of the existing environment and its role in affecting the people within.

Brooklyn Photographs highlights Pagnano’s series that memorializes the disco era in Brooklyn. He shot the famous Empire Roller Disco at its peak in the 1980s. A Brooklyn landmark, Empire was known for being the location that pioneered roller disco and such dance styles such as the Brooklyn Bounce. Pagnano’s photographs encapsulate the significance that Empire Roller Disco had not only in disco culture, but in the culture and people of Crown Heights, then a neighborhood that had recently experienced riots and whose demographics were rapidly shifting. The exuberance of his subjects dancing in style demonstrate the ability of a space to change the narrative and experiences of its community.

Patrick Pagnano’s photographs have been included in exhibitions at venues such as the Brooklyn Museum; New York Public Library, NY; and Mois de la Photo à Montreal, Montreal, Canada, amongst others. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Public Library, all NY; the Brooklyn Museum; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Helmut Gernsheim Collection, Switzerland. He published a book, Shot on the Street, featuring 60 color images of his work, in 2002. Pagnano holds a BA from Columbia College.

Sergio Purtell

Beginning in the 1980s, Sergio Purtell has photographed neighborhoods as they develop, gentrify and transform. Focused on recording the architectural landscape in Brooklyn, he captures spaces on the precipice of radical change. His interest in recording spaces in transition has resulted in a body of work of over 1,400 black and white images that act as a visual documentary of Brooklyn over the past 40 years.

In Brooklyn Photographs, Purtell exhibits works from his Real series. Photographing abandoned remnants of Brooklyn’s industrial era in neighborhoods like Greenpoint and Gowanus, he evokes both nostalgia and loneliness. Typically, devoid of humans, his images are of buildings and structures. In one, the Kentile Floors sign is seen in the horizon behind the Gowanus Canal. The sign, removed in 2014, was once a well-known sight in the neighborhood, a visible beacon for above-ground riders of the F and G trains. His photographs are simultaneously a testimony of what once was and a somber remembrance of spaces—in some cases landmarks, that no longer exist.

Sergio Purtell’s work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions internationally, including at ART 3 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; the Chicago Art Institute; the Folkestone Museum, Kent, England; Musée Réattu, Arles, France; and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile. His work is in numerous private and public collections, such as the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; University of Colorado; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France; the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile; the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Panama City, Panama; the Fotografie Forum, Frankfurt, Germany, and others. Purtell holds a BA from the Rhode Island School of Design and and MFA from Yale University.

Larry Racioppo

Born in Park Slope (then called South Brooklyn), Racioppo became interested in photography while working on a farm in California in the late 1960s, after dropping out of Fordham University. He returned to New York City in 1970 and began his prolific career, during which he has documented sites of neglect as a photographer for New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development as well as a series devoted to Coney Island, scrap pickers, and Brooklyn’s great movie houses of the early 20th century.

Brooklyn Photographs exhibits photographs from Racioppo’s Halloween series. His photographs of children dressed up for Halloween bridges communities through images of a nationally adopted ritual. Beginning in 1974, when he returned to his childhood neighborhood, Racioppo chose to photograph his favorite holiday as a way of re-engaging with his community during a transient moment of celebration. The improvised costumes worn by the children exemplifies Brooklyn street life in the years before Park Slope became a highly gentrified neighborhood.

Larry Racioppo’s photographs have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions and venues including at the Brooklyn Public Library; Museum of the City of New York and Italian American Museum, both New York, NY; Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, Staten Island, NY; and others. His photographs are part of the permanent collection of the New York Public Library, The Brooklyn Museum, El Museo del Barrio, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and more. He has received support from several organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, Brooklyn Arts Council, and has been a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow. He has published numerous books, including Halloween (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1980), and Halloween Party at St. John’s, 1980, published independently by the artist. Racioppo was a BCAT/BRIC Rotunda Gallery Artist-in-Residence in 2005. He holds a BAin Communications from Fordham University and an MS in Television and Radio Production from Brooklyn College.


Panel Discussion: Street Photography, Encounters with a Camera
Wed, Oct 4 | 7PM | FREE
Artists from Brooklyn Photographs discuss their practice and issues around photographing others in the public sphere. Moderated by essayist and journalist, Garnette Cadogan.

Coffee and Conversation
Sat, Sep 16 | 12PM | FREE
Join us for breakfast treats and a gallery talk led by George Malave, Meryl Meisler, and Larry Racioppo, photographers who chronicled Brooklyn from the late 1960s to the present day.

Free Tours for Groups and Individuals
Wednesdays | 11:30am
Learn more and sign up for a free tour at


BRIC is the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, and one of the largest in New York City. We present and incubate work by artists and media-makers who reflect the diversity that surrounds us. BRIC programs reach hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Our main venue, BRIC Arts | Media House, offers a public media center, a major contemporary art exhibition space, two performance spaces, a glass-walled TV studio, and artist work spaces.

Some of BRIC’s most acclaimed programs include the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park, several path-breaking public access media initiatives, including BRIC TV, and a renowned contemporary art exhibition series. BRIC also offers education and other vital programs at BRIC House and throughout Brooklyn.

In addition to making cultural programming genuinely accessible, BRIC is dedicated to providing substantial support to artists and media makers in their efforts to develop work and reach new audiences.

BRIC is unusual in both presenting exceptional cultural experiences and nurturing individual expression. This dual commitment enables us to most effectively reflect New York City’s innate cultural richness and diversity.

©Meryl Meisler, 1983, Man Fixing Truck Carrying Car Parts
©Meryl Meisler, 1983, Man Fixing Truck Carrying Car Parts