Ber Murphy

A neighborhood transformed by development is the central theme of this ongoing series, titled Sleeping Giant | 11101 Rezoned. Living and working in and around Long Island City’s defunct factories and industrial yards, where buildings are being raised and rebuilt into luxury co-ops at a head-spinning rate, I witness the methodical eradication of a working class way of life. I find myself dismayed by the quick progression of high rises that are erupting skyward along the waterfront; quickly, inevitably obliterating the view of Manhattan beyond. And yet, I find myself drawn first visually then socio-politically to the power these monoliths project set beside the defunct factories and old tenements: immense size versus outdated design, financial power versus fixed-income strongholds, and new possibilities versus old ideals.

For me, these images function not only as a record and homage to a vanishing place and time, but as metaphors for the workingman’s dilemma. They search for a dialogue between subjugation and advancement, and seek to illustrate the often-unsung sacrifices that are made in the interest of progress.

— Ber Murphy, New York City, USA