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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Christos Gates
6 Gates


I'm guessing that the Gates will be the most photographed things in New York since, well since what was left of the WTC became a tourist attraction. They are actually very difficult to photograph. There is a sheen on the fabric that reminds me of the oil on leaves that creates glare if you aren't careful. And of course, waving around as they do, they are never really the same. I'm sure that's part of the concept. But there is something else that makes them difficult to photograph, and that is - let me try and figure it out.

I first saw the Gates, before the curtains came down. I had a sense of joy and amazement. From a photographers point of view, they were great because you could use them to frame things in the park that had never been framed. And they felt very, New York. The grid. The typical New York building. Same basic shapes.

On the second day, the fabric was unfurled. This was not exactly awe-inspiring. There was a lot of excitement. The fabric had been rolled up on a cardboard tube, like the inside of a roll of toilet paper. There was some sort of tape with a loop in it that held the roll in place. A mighty brigade of Gates trainers came by, and with a pole with a hook grabbed a loop and pulled the tape, and the cardboard tube dropped out like the cork from a bottle of flat champagne, and the crowd cheered.

Little kids were allowed to handle the poles and open some of the Gates.

By my third day (2nd with the curtains down), I was getting bored with the whole thing. Yes, it was an event. It was a great once-in-a-lifetime event. But like other once-in-a-lifetime events that I have attended, such as a wedding or two - it began to bore me. And not only bore me, but annoy me; a minor sort of irk, the way the little orange cones had annoyed me in the beginning.

What is hard to show in pictures is that it is the gargantuan nature of the project that is the essence of the art. It is not the Gates themselves; it is idea of the Gates. The audacity. In fact, after seeing them for the second day, I came back to my little abode and began to think about the monstrous ego that must be behind such a work.



New Yorkers - well, if the guy in the Deli can get my sandwich order straight - I'm happy. If the subway does what it was designed to do once in a while. But to pierce the park with 7500 vinyl covered gates, all the exact same color, in the middle of Winter? This is ego on a scale... difficult to imagine.

Who are these guys? How do they come into my city with their orange agenda? Did they ask permission of New Yorkers? Yes, yes, yes. The mayor will go for anything that attracts tourists. Fine. No big deal. Was I blind to the beauty of the thing? Was it self-promotion beyond imagination?

So that is where it stands with me and the Gates. The Christos Gates, they say that the color was inspired by the saffron robes of monks. But it is hard to imagine anything less monklike, and more Napoleonic. Maybe I will waver back again, like the flapping fabric, but I doubt it.






8:25:17 PM    

Christos Gates, Northern Park

4:28:31 PM    

 I began by doing some shots of the Gates, but after a while got bored with them, and found these kids playing football in the mud and loving it.

It is not easy to shoot sports with the DRebel and especially not in raw mode, but I did my best. I missed the focus on this, but that sort of gives it the look of an old time picture.

Football, Central Park
Football, Central Park


Football, Central Park
Football, Missed Catch

3:34:55 PM    


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