Oil patterns on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY, create distinct shapes of a woman's figure, a fall Maple leaf, and the continent of Africa in this Triptych.
I have photographed Brooklyn's "Lavendar Lake" for over thirty years, my long term project as the waterway gentrifies from a polluted industrial wasteland to an EPA Superfund site that developers are salivating for.
The oil slicks, caused by the coal tar and oil seeping to the surface, are part of the waste that flowed into the canal as early as 1858, and by the 1880’s the waterway had gained the moniker “Lavendar Lake” for its odorous qualities.
The current cost of the overall EPA Superfund cleanup plan for the 1.7 mile canal is estimated to be over $1.5 billion, and the entire project won’t be completed until mid-2023. Located in one of the densest population centers in America, the Gowanus Canal is situated between the high-end Brooklyn brownstone neighborhoods of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.
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