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From Landfill to Park, Photo Exhibit Focuses on Freshkills

By Nicholas Rizzi | September 22, 2016 3:47pm
 The exhibit features winners of a recent photography contest paired with historic shots of Freshkills.
Freshkills Park: Landscape in Motion
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ST. GEORGE — The world's biggest landfill-turned-park has its metamorphosis documented in a new photo exhibit.

"Freshkills Park: Landscape in Motion," which opened this week at the Staten Island Arts Culture Lounge inside the St. George Ferry Terminal, features 12 photographs of the park taken over the summer as part of a photography contest, paired with shots of the site taken over several years.

"We really took the approach of not just showing pretty photos but educating people about the park project and the site and its history of a landfill," said Mariel Villeré, manager for programs, arts and grants at the park and the exhibit's organizer.

The display features 12 printed photos from the winners of "A Fresh Look," a contest organized by the parks department and the Staten Island Advance.

Other images come from the archives of the Advance and the Staten Island Museum, Villeré said.

It will also have several 360 degree panoramic shots taken recently that visitors can either interact with through tablets or with their phones using Google Cardboard headsets.

"People can kind of immerse themselves in the landscape," Villeré said. "You can move your head and you can pivot around and you can explore it that way."

While photographers have visited the landfill throughout the years to snap images, Villeré and the park started to invite them in three years ago for photo walks to document sections of the under-construction park.

"We get to see different parts of the closed park sections across different seasons and different levels of photography," she said.

"The idea is to have a lot of content at each stage of the project.

"We wanted to bring them to a wider audience and the ferry terminal is a really great place to do that."

The contest had about 150 submissions and a panel of judges selected Ryan Lavis as winner of the professional category, Jared Sutton in the amateur one and Katia Sukhotskaya in the student section.

While the winners had their photos printed for the exhibit, Villeré said all the images submitted will be on display on tablets in the exhibit.

The exhibit will also host a workshop that will give virtual reality tours of the park and other under construction projects on Oct. 6, a talk with deputy director of photography at Time magazine Paul Moakley on Oct. 20 and a discussion about changing landscape with Department of Sanitation artist-in-residence Mierle Laderman Ukeles on Nov. 17.

Virrelé will also host a photography tour of Freshkills Park on Oct. 1 as part of the exhibit, which will run until Nov. 26.