The Japanese word “Sayonara” means goodbye or farewell. It can be used to say that the time for departure has come, perhaps just for the time being or perhaps never to meet again.
I call this project Sayonara in the latter sense, as it documents my goodbye to my Brooklyn studio in December 2017.
The project has three parts: still-life compositions, views from the studio windows overlooking New York harbor, and the moving day itself.
Still lives: There’s a beauty to these objects and materials, everyday things—man-made or from natural sources—that I’ve collected over the years. Some were used and some not, and now the time had come to get rid of them, to pass them on and be done with them. A piece of lead the studio bought for a shoot, inspired by Anselm Kiefer work, was shipped from out of state. (It’s illegal to buy lead in New York State.) It’s an amazing material; while it looks unbendable, it is soft and pliable like Playdoh. Seamless paper. I can’t forget David Hemmings' scene in Blow Up—the photographer on the studio floor wrapped up in seamless papers with two wannabe models in the mix. Plywood in all shapes and sizes, painted surfaces, prints, portfolios, office furniture, photo equipment, glass, aluminum, the remainders of the shredding project.
Through the windows: The unimpeded view of New York harbor, the largest in the world—it’s a bit like trying to capture the Grand Canyon; it seems almost to big to be captured in one picture. I decided to zoom into the image of the Statue of Liberty. I rented a 400mm sports lens and captured this image for two weeks running, in ten minute intervals and around the clock. With Bayonne, New Jersey, in the background, it was not your typical Statue of Liberty shot as it appears when Googled on the internet. I also set the camera to capture images of ships on the horizon—freighters and tankers as they plied the harbor waters under beautiful skies.
The move: After three months of packing up the studio, fifteen movers and two trucks, the dollies and boxes arrived. The path of the movers to the elevator took them through the set of my still lives.
The project is still being compiled and arranged.