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New York Staten Island Ferry

In recent years I have taken the Staten Island Ferry back and forth to Manhattan at different times of the day, and in different seasons. I was interested in the light and the manner in which the ferry ride reflects the varying moods of the passengers. Some are commuters for whom the Ferry is the principal mode of transportation between Staten Island and Manhattan, passengers who are all too often absorbed in their own thoughts and oblivious to their surroundings. Others are new immigrants and tourists, concentrating on the dramatic spectacle of the Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island, or the sun fading behind Liberty Island. I wanted to capture a sense of their physicality and their moods as I wander through the Ferry's three decks.

These photographs document both the multifold aesthetic elements, and the flavor of the Ferry and its Terminal. It is a record inspired in part by the variations in tone, color, and movement reflected in windows, the patterns of the water, and wooden benches, all reflecting years of New York history, in a time of transition. The once elegant ferries are now slightly impoverished, and frail. (The New York City Board of Transportation has been replacing these venerable boats since 2004.) With this series I hope to capture their essence and their passage into history.

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© Robert Welsh. All Rights Reserved.

updated 07/23/2010 (rge)