(Un)Still Life

September 27, 2011 - February 18, 2012
Central Library, Grand Lobby
Photographers' still-life creations inspired by

Brooklyn and beyond.

by Fred Becker, Ranjit Bhatnagar and Justine


From Fred Becker:
My found object series was a serendipitous event. In 2003 I was fishing at Dead Horse Bay, which is located at the southern end of Flatbush Avenue. Around the bend, I could hear what sounded like wind chimes. It was tens of thousands of shards of broken dishes and glass moving to–and–fro in the gentle waves of the bay. What I had come upon was a New York City landfill site from the 1940s and '50s. Over the course of 50 years, the wind, rain and tides had eroded the sand—filled dumping grounds and uncovered the everyday objects of the men, women and children from that era. Their shoes, toys and everyday utensils lay glistening on the wet sand of Dead Horse Bay.

I made many trips to Dead Horse Bay, especially after a major storm, and collected buckets of treasures to take home and photograph as still-life in my studio.

All of the photographs were taken with a 4 x 5 camera using Ektachrome and black–and–white film.

BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Fred Becker, headshot Fred Becker is a photographer who also runs a painting and wallpapering business in Brooklyn. He has exhibited his work in group shows in Brooklyn and Manhattan at Hope & Anchor restaurant, Object Image Gallery, Foley Gallery and BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange). He is primarily self-taught and studied at the New School and the International Center of Photography.

To contact Fred Becker:
fbeckerphoto@gmail.com | www.fjbecker.com

From Ranjit Bhantnagar:
I try to buy most of my groceries at greenmarkets, most often the market at Grand Army Plaza next to Central Library. For almost 10 years, I've been using desktop scanners to create images from my greenmarket purchases in order to document the cycles of seasonal market produce and the memories of hundreds of delicious meals.

This exhibit is a selection from a decade of scanography. In scanography, objects are placed directly on a flatbed scanner to create digital images with fine detail, intense colors, a limited depth of field and an unusual perspective that is distinct from any form of lens photography or natural vision.

This series is influenced by classical still–life, collage and the work of Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Ranjit Bhantnagar, headshotRanjit Rhatnagar is an independent artist. He has exhibited many different types of his artwork in a variety of venues. His photography has been in publications such as Utne Reader, Good and Edible Brooklyn, and it has been featured in a solo show at Baby Grand Gallery in New York and in a large-scale photographic installation with MTA Arts for Transit at the Atlantic Avenue subway station in Brooklyn. He earned a Master of Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

To contact Ranjit Bhatnagar:
ranjit@moonmilk.com | www.moonmilk.com


From Justine Reyes:
Taking inspiration from Dutch vanitas paintings, these photographs incorporate personal artifacts within the traditional construct of still–life. By pairing objects that belonged to my grandmother with my own possessions, I speak to the concept of memory, familial legacy and the passage of time.

The incorporation of modern elements—Saran wrap, plastic, sugar packages and others—and the use of photography itself both add an additional layer of nostalgia and irony when viewed within the historical framework of vanitas painting.

I often explore the physicality of death as seen through the objects we leave behind. Both the decomposition of the natural objects—rotting fruit and wilting flowers—and the breakdown of the man–made objects reference the physical body, life's impermanence and the inevitability of death. My work examines identity, mortality and the longing to hold on to things that are ephemeral and transitory in nature.

BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Justine Reyes, headshot Justine Reyes is a photographer. Photo District News named her one of their top 30 new and emerging photographers to watch in 2011. She also recently received a Queens Community Arts Fund grant from the Queens Council on the Arts. She has held many artist residencies, most recently at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Her work has been exhibited at many venues, including Michael Mazzeo Gallery and El Museo del Barrio in New York. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute.

To contact the Justine Reyes:
info@justinereyes.com | www.justinereyes.com

BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Iron, 2002 photograph by Fred becker
Iron, 2002
©Fred Becker

BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Pointed Head Doll, 2005 photograph by Fred Becker
Pointed Head Doll, 2005
©Fred Becker


BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, 2006, Ranjit Bhatnager
Grand Army Plaza Grrenmarket
©Ranjit Bhatnager

BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Windsor Terrace Greenmarket, 2006, Ranjit Bhatnagar
Windsor Terrace Greenmarket
©Ranjit Bhatnager


BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Still Life with Cup and Melon, 2009, Justine Reyes
Still Life with Cup and Melon
© Justine Reyes

BPL - Exhibition: (Un)Still Life, Still Life with Banana and Change, Justine Reyes
Still Life with Banana and Changes
©Justine Reyes