Jeff Mermelstein's Basketball in Brooklyn

Widely appreciated for being a self proclaimed all-analogue print publication with no beauty retouching, Issue 05 of PYLOT Magazine features the candid visuals from Jeff Mermelstein's recent project "Basketball in Brooklyn".

Below Jeff gives an in depth insight into the creative process behind the series.

Where was this series taken? Why did you choose to shoot here?

We used to live in a loft building, a converted old Spalding Factory in Brooklyn that was eventually torn down to make way for the building of a basketball arena, the Barclays Center. When we learned that we would need to leave our home for the building of this arena the subject of basketball began to glow in my mind. Around the corner from our loft is the Dean Playground where during the Summer months there is great activity of street basketball

Tell us about the most rewarding part of this shoot?

I always was intrigued with the excitement and cultural diversity and the physicality of the players and the spectators. The particular electric colors of the synthetic culturally emblematic clothing and the throbbing of music and street chatter. My eyes and emotions were filled with excitement that put me into a spell of respect, curiosity and love. I was galvanized by the challenge of gaining trust and access with these ball players and was thrilled to do so. It opened up a new side of me as a picture maker being a street photographer who rarely speaks to his subjects, being more of a hit and run artist.

What excites you about street photography?

What excites me about street photography is how it can crack open with the element of surprise something that reveals who and how and what we are.

Are any of your images preplanned or do they occur naturally?

I generally do not like to preplan pictures, that would shut down surprise and possible ambiguity.

We love the visceral quality that your images have and how they thrust us into the moment you have captured, do you have a process for portraying such life and energy?

When I photograph I am a photographer athlete, I am not athletic however with a camera in hand, I have both a mind and physical connectivity to what is before me and I feel the vibrations of life instinctively. 

There is a beautiful sense of community within this series, do you think that photography plays an important role in cementing these values? Or does it simply document them

It is the human condition that such pictures attempt to portray in a way that I hope in the end will encourage us to look up and not down.

 

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