"Gowanus Swirls" was like a living organism as it floated by. Caused by the coal tar and oil seeping to the surface, sewage 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. At low tide, oil permeates to the surface of the Gowanus Canal sometimes so thick that it gives the appearance of a hard surface. As the oil moves in the tidal waterway, the sunlight gleams across the colors as it changes shape constantly.
This is one of my favorite images from the Gowanus Canal. I have photographed the Gowanus Canal, located in one of the densest population centers in America, for over thirty years. In that time, I have seen the real estate around the polluted waterway soar in value.
The 1.7 mile long canal is currently in an EPA Superfund cleanup plan that is estimated to be over $1.5 billion, and the entire project won’t be completed until mid-2023. Unfortunately, the developers now rule and high rises will cut off access to what could have been an amazing waterfront for the community.
I printed this 20" x 20" Kodak Pro Endura glossy print behind 1/4" plexiglass from my favorite lab in Germany, Whitewall Photo, for my "Lost and Found in Brooklyn" exhibit at the Green Gallery in Gowanus, Brooklyn for the Gowanus Open Studio Tour weekend in 2019.