This past month, the Joel Meyerowitz exhibition "Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks,"
opened at the Museum of the City of New York. Through its wall-sized photographic prints, the exhibition - which runs through March 7, 2010 - gives visitors the experience of walking through parks in the city’s five boroughs. The book with the same name, published by Aperture in October, contains 250 of the almost 3,000 images Meyerowitz shot of the nearly 9,000 acres of parks between 2006 and 2009.
Meyerowitz still captures on 4x5 and 8x10-inch film, so he developed a hybrid workflow that includes scanning these large-format images on a Flextight X5 scanner on loan from Hasselblad - “thanks to Christian Norgaard,” says Meyerowitz. “The degree of control I have with these high-quality scans from Hasselblad, as well as digital printers by HP, is better than anything I could have achieved in the darkroom. I can’t tell you how many times we will make a large print, put it up on the wall, stand back and say, ‘this is fantastic!’”
The body of work was captured as a result of a unique commission Meyerowitz received from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to “document, interpret, and celebrate” the city’s parks. He is the first photographer to do so since the 1930s ,when they were photographed as part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration program.
“As photographers, we hope to describe the full content of the negative or the original transparency in a way that lets the viewer hear the ‘voice’ of the image,” Meyerowitz says. “The HP printers - and the Flextight scanner - help us make that happen.”
For more information on the Meyerowitz exhibition, visit www.joelmeyerowitz.com
For information on the book, limited edition book set, or limited-edition print portfolio,visit www.aperture.org/legacy.html
© 2003-2008 Joel Meyerowitz Photography, LLC. All rights reserved.Text by Alice B. Miller