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Court Officials Display Original Photography at Brooklyn Federal Courthouse

By Janet Upadhye | March 6, 2013 8:24am | Updated on March 6, 2013 8:25am

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Judges, lawyers and court clerks are showing off their artsy side at the U.S. Eastern District Courthouse.

The Charles P. Sifton Gallery, opened in 2006, has housed more than 11 professional exhibits, including works from Maya Lin and Donald Sultan, and now displays work from people who work inside the courthouse. "After Hours," the gallery's new show, is photography shot during four court officials' time off.

"This is just our hobby," said court clerk Douglas Palmer. "It's the first exhibit we've had for non-artist artists."

But the quality of the photography is nothing less than professional.

Palmer has taken more than 30,000 photographs in the last three years. Influenced by painting, Palmer's photos are full of color and show Brooklyn through the seasons. One collage features the courthouse in snow, blossoms, golden leaves and bright sun.

Judge Rob Levy’s black-and-whites illuminate the worn faces of ironworkers in Turkey during the 1970s. The judge started taking pictures as a child and skipped his college graduation to hitchhike to Yosemite National Park for a workshop with photographer Ansel Adams. He continued to take photos during law school and still takes pictures today.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Newman's images are of street parades in his hometown of New Orleans and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth Nordenbrook shoots Brooklyn street photography. Upwards of 30 people visit the gallery each day to see the artwork, Palmer said.

Palmer is looking to display more local art.

"If you know anyone that wants to show," he said. "This space is here for them."