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Capturing Latent Beauty In The Oft-Maligned Gowanus Canal

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Fine art photographer Robert DeRosa grew up a few blocks from the Gowanus Canal. Just last year, five decades past childhood, he decided to revisit the area while out shooting gritty pockets of New York City. Fascinated by the competing urban forces at work, he decided to start documenting the super-polluted waterway from different angles and at different times of day, even finding something akin to beauty at dawn. "Industrial people—in scrap metal, concrete plants—need it," he says. "Then there's the residential people who are looking for more space. The area is gentrifying; it's becoming more valuable. Then you've got places like Whole Foods, the commercial, who are looking for space to build these big box stores. All of these are competing." Despite the change that's imminent (Gowanus Whole Foods, anyone?), he found a romanticized stasis in certain hours of the day.

DeRosa's next project, beyond capturing these landscapes and others, is to shoot environmental portraits of people who work and live on and around the canal, from businesspeople who are neighborhood veterans to artists who have recently moved in. Contact him if you're interested. Adds DeRosa: "I'd love to photograph the guy who owns the Brooklyn Casket Company."

· Robert DeRosa [official]
· Exhibit: A Walk Across Time [Brooklyn College Library]
· All Gowanus Canal coverage [Curbed]