We The People: The Cypress Hills Series
Portraits from the neighborhood by photographer Steven Laxton
Feb 4-Mar 12, 2017
Opening reception: Sat, Feb 4, 4-8pm
Hours: Weekends 1-6pm | always by appointment
Norte Maar, 88 Pine Street, Cypress Hills, Brooklyn
JZ Train to Brooklyn. Crescent Street Stop
Norte Maar is pleased to inaugurate our 2017 Exhibition Series with We The People: The Cypress Hills Series / Portraits from the neighborhood by photographer Steven Laxton. This ongoing portrait series, which began last summer, captures the faces of residents living and working in Cypress Hills by local photographer Steven Laxton. The exhibition will open with a reception for the artist on Saturday, February 4, 4-8pm and will remain on view through March 12. Hours are weekends, 1-6pm or by appointment.
After living and working in New York City for over a decade, Steven Laxton, an award-winning photographer who originates from rural Australia, bought his first home in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. As a first time home buyer, the artist found the process “grueling, but well worth it because now I call Cypress Hills my home.”
Laxton was immediately struck by the open, welcoming attitude of the community and the amazing diversity of people and nationalities within his block. Eager to celebrate this diversity, Laxton set up a portable photography studio in the nearby Highland Park and invited the people of Cypress Hills to sit for his camera. “In the park,” Laxton states, “it seems on the weekend literally the whole world is represented. My intention of this portrait series is to celebrate this diversity and the people that make this community so unique and special.”
Stunningly crisp and intimately sincere, the resulting portraits capture the faces of residents living and working in Cypress Hills. From toddlers to teens, sisters and brothers, friends and neighbors, fathers, mothers, and elders, Laxton’s portraits are heroic in their portrayal of the proximal, the immediate, and the direct. Each photograph is a suspended moment offering a contemporary take on the classic bond between artist and subject. We The People: The Cypress Hills Series is an enlightened and truthful glimpse of the humanity around us.
New York is a city that is forever evolving, and I want to preserve this moment by celebrating the people that make Cypress Hills what it is today. –Steven Laxton
Project discussed on Brown Stoner:
About Steven Laxton.
Steven Laxton was born in rural Australia and, after moving to Adelaide, he began shooting for local magazines and clients while he was still a teenager. Recognition came early when, in 2008, he was named one of the 15 Rising Stars of International Photography by American Photo Magazine. When Communication Arts named him a “Fresh” artist in 2009, it coincided with the inclusion of his series on Holocaust survivors in the book and project “Afterwards: Contemporary Photography Confronting the Past” curated by Nathalie Herschdorfer of the Musée de l’Elysée.
In 2012, Steven was awarded the Arnold Newman Prize for his evocative photo essays and portraits (watch his award interview here). That same year, he also earned the Picture of the Year International Feature award and a PDN award for his project Circo El Salvador, which features images of nomadic circus families in El Salvador. He was named the 2013 International Friend of El Salvador as a result of the series, a distinction considered one of the country’s highest honors. Steven’s images were included in the American Photography 29 collection for 2013. Also that year, a film he directed for Rewrite Your Story won several Art Directors awards including best direction and casting. The film also collected a Deadly Award.
In 2014, he was named one of PDNs 20 emerging filmmakers to watch. In 2015, he was selected again for the PDN Annual for his series on a transgender cabaret in Thailand. The honors continued in 2016, too. He was selected for American Photography 32 and was included in the Communication Arts annual for his recent advertising campaign for Horizant.
Steven’s work engages a heightened nature, injecting a dreamy quality as a comment on how memory interacts with reality. Memory is far more ephemeral than photographs, something that Steven is particularly aware of in his portraiture. He explains, “A portrait is a record of your interaction with someone. It’s who they are and what you shared.” Steven’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in the collection of the Portland Museum of Art.
About Norte Maar.
Norte Maar for Collaborative Projects in the Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization founded in 2004 by curator Jason Andrew and choreographer Julia K. Gleich with a founding mission to create, promote, and present collaborations among the visual, literary and performing arts, connecting emerging artistic communities and uniting cultural forces to foster artistic expression and raise the imaginative energy in us all.
Norte Maar encourages and supports innovative and educational projects in the arts by offering unique exhibitions, unusual performances, workshops and lectures for artists and residents of our community. Norte Maar aims to be a leader in building collaborative partnerships between originating artists and other organizations thereby uniting cultural forces to foster artistic expression and raise the imaginative energy in us all.
Norte Maar is all about blurring the lines that distinguish artistic passions and practices.
In 2006, NM began presenting arts events in Brooklyn establishing the first apartment gallery in Bushwick.Now, NM serves the New York City Metro area with a focus on Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, our new local neighborhood. This includes long-term residents of the community, young urban professionals and established and emerging artists.