By Victoria Priola | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted March 08, 2019 at 04:57 PM | Updated March 08, 2019 at 04:57 PM
Sean Sweeney wins the Freshkills Park “Capturing Change Photography Contest.” (Photo by Sean Sweeney/ NYC Parks Department)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Freshkills Park Alliance put out a call for photographers to capture the beauty of the land.
One hundred applications later, the organization tied in with the city Parks Department gave a nod to the top three photos of the “Capturing Change” photography contest.
Contest judge Natalie Conn declared Staten Island resident Sean Sweeney winner for a black and white photo of a grassy foreground.
“I love, first of all, that the photographer decided to make this black and white, Which inherently forces the viewer to see the formal aspects of the image and not be overwhelmed by colors pinpointing a specific season,” Conn posted on the Freshkills Park site.
Examining the photo more, the critic writes, “It could be from the perspective of an animal in the grass and it’s hard to imagine that we’re at the edge of New York City, although the white tiny buildings in the distance are a clue that industrial spaces are nearby.”
Sean Sweeney, a Staten Island resident, has participated in the Polar Plunge for 24 years. (Staten Island Advance/Joseph Ostapiuk)
Sweeney, a veteran photographer who has roamed the borough with his camera for 30 years, is accustomed to getting attention for his photo skills. Sweeney was dubbed the “Best Photographer on Staten Island” in our 2018 Readers’ Choice poll.
“It’s always great to be recognized for a photo that I’ve taken especially when so many of the photographers that I admire had also submitted their work,” Sweeney said in response to the win.
When it came to picking the perfect photo to submit, Sweeney said he wanted to document what was here before and the new beginning the land will have.
“I chose to submit this image because it was my attempt to capture the vastness of what will someday all be parkland,” Sweeney said. “Most of us remember the enormity of the landfill. Our kids and grandkids will only know this land for its recreational purpose.”
“A debt of gratitude is owed to everyone who worked to reverse what was once our own environmental nightmare,” he added.
Jane Schreibman’s photo came in second place in the Freshkills Park “Capturing Change Photography Contest.” (Photo by Jane Schreibman, NYC Parks Department)
A photo submitted by Jane Schreibman snagged second place in the contest.
“It’s an image that conjures a story of some kind,” Conn wrote. “The viewer can wonder how this space was made and why. It also feels like a place in progress, a place that is about to be transformed. This image is also very considered and purposeful.”
Jesse Webster’s photo came in third place in the Freshkills Park “Capturing Change Photography Contest.” (Photo by Jesse Webster, NYC Parks Department)
Jesse Webster’s submission showing some greenery was selected third.
“It focuses on that interesting combination of a wild natural space mixed with pipes and concrete, guard rails and roads,” Conn wrote. “A tree is comically growing out of a drain pipe and branches out of the crevices of this mysterious unmarked structure.”
Danielle Alexander’s photo was an honorable mention in the Freshkills Park “Capturing Change Photography Contest.” (Photo by Danielle Alexander, NYC Parks Department)
“I love the layers in this image, the heavy clouds, mysterious piles of rocks, oil painting-like grass,” Conn wrote of Danielle Alexander’s photo, which was an honorable mention. “The eye is attracted first to the bird and then you slowly look around the space. It has a strong composition and sense of motion.”