Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Week #7 Post
I selected this image by Alvin Baltrop to discuss because I found it to be representative of his art as a whole. Baltrop was born and raised in NYC which is where he chose to create his art. Baltrop attended School of Visual Art in New York City after returning from the war in Vietnam. Specifically, Baltrop would photograph the West Village Pier where the queer community took refuge. After an accident the pier was shut down and abandoned leaving it as a space where the queer community of New York made a safe haven throughout the 70’s and 80’s. The “queer playground” as it was called as a place where individuals did not have to hide their sexuality. In this photo we can see the sense of community and get a sense of a relaxed, casual atmosphere where members of the community felt safe and able to be themselves. There are many things going on in this picture from casual conversation, to nude sun bathing, to simply watching the ocean. Most people are sitting amongst others in pairs or small groups indicating there is friendship amongst the community. Despite the influence of drugs and prostitution that was prevalent around the pier I find this shot to be more positive and showing the save haven many viewed the pier as. I find the angle at which the photo was taken to be quite interesting as it places a focus on the individuals in the photo rather than their surroundings with the ocean making up only one third of the shot. This was one of Baltrop’s more casual shots, focused on the community aspect. However, a main focus of his work was on the marginalized children and young adults as well as prostitution to help bring awareness to these issues. Despite his attempts his work was not received or widely recognized until after his death.