Viewfinder | Everyday Abstractions

“I find the East Village to be a difficult place to take photos. Difficult because our visual world is saturated with images of these blocks. Thus, you can feel trapped in a cliché — a cliché based in an idealized past, or a gentrified, dystopian vision of what is to come. Nevertheless, I love to photograph the East Village to participate in this negotiation. The negotiation is, for me, encapsulated in this idea of ‘Everyday Abstractions.'”

“There are two dimensions to ‘Everyday Abstractions.’ The first being ‘everyday’ structures, like buildings and roads, that define the neighborhood in the most literal sense. Then there’s the ‘abstract’ notions of culture and social life. The two combine to form the clichéd vision of the East Village.”

“The second is the visual practice of image-making that captures abstract patterns in the material world we have created.”

“Photographers live in the middle space, between the physical and abstract.”

“If there is a power to what we do, it is based in capturing a message in this relationship.”

“It is a message that idealizes, critiques and reimagines what this place has meant, and will mean.”

Phillip Kalantzis-Cope is community contributor to The Local East Village. His photography can be seen here.