Watch an edited excerpt of Joel Meyerowitz talk at Aperture Gallery on the occasion of the release of his new monograph “Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks” (Aperture, October 2009). In this clip, along a slide-show of images from the book, Meyerowitz speaks about the origin and spirit of the project as well as the making of the book. He also mentions his unprecedented discovery of the Hallet Sanctuary, a hidden pocket of wilderness in the heart of Central Park.
You can watch the entire talk divided in three different clips on our vimeo account.
This stunningly beautiful collection of images is the result of a unique commission Meyerowitz received from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to document, interpret, and celebrate the nearly 9,000 acres of parks in the five boroughs that have been left or returned to their most natural state. Meyerowitz is the first photographer to document New York City’s parks since the 1930s, when they were photographed as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WPA program.
Meyerowitz, who was born and raised in the Bronx in the 1940s and ’50s, is a self-described urban Huckleberry Finn who refers to the Bronx River as his Mississippi. In creating this work, Meyerowitz has drawn upon his childhood memories of a New York with “green space—open and wild, alive with rabbits, migratory birds, snakes, frogs, and the occasional skunk... [That] gave me my first sense of the natural world, its temperament and its seasons, its unpredictability, and its mystery.” Through this rich archive of images of parks, shorelines, and forests, Meyerowitz transports the viewer into the heart of a lush wilderness, while contextualizing these corners of nature as an inextricable part of city life today.