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These Photos of Gowanus Canal Sludge Are Weirdly Beautiful

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As we've noted previously, the Gowanus Canal is oddly beautiful (in a weird, melt-your-skin-off kind of way). In some lights, it's beautiful despite the unfathomable levels of pollution. In other lights, like the ones captured by photographer Steven Hirsch, it's beautiful because of them. Hirsch first shot the canal's colorful oil slicks in 2010 after wandering down there on a day trip with a friend. The Gowanus, he told Daily Intel, reminded him of dropping acid and watching the Joshua Light Show installations at Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane shows. While the photos definitely have a psychedelic quality to them, they also sort of look like abstract paintings. In a way, they, like the canal itself, defy description. The Times, in their own writeup back in March, called them " a series of electric abstracts that present an ethereal netherworld."

25 of the images are on display until December 1 at the Lilac Gallery in Flatiron.

· A Brooklyn Photographer Found a Secret 'Mother Lode' of Psychedelic Beauty in the Filth of the Gowanus Canal [Daily Intel]
· Finding Beauty in the Sludge [NYT]
· Brooklyn Court Photographer Captures Beauty of Gowanus Canal Sludge [NY1]
· Brooklyn Photographer Captures the Gowanus Canal in All Its Toxic Glory [NYO]
· Gowanus Canal coverage [Curbed]