Spencer Murphy

© Spencer Murphy


Inspired by the countryside in which I grew up in, my pictures explore man’s relationship with nature and as a force that exists separately and in conflict with the world. If the pictures appear staged, it’s a nod towards the order behind things. If they seem dark or set the viewer ill at ease, then it’s in recognition of the chaos that underlies that order. If they represent a world at once familiar and yet utterly alien, that’s because it is our own.

— Spencer Murphy, London

© Spencer Murphy

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to the power these monoliths project set beside the defunct factories and old tenements: immense size versus outdated design, financial power versus fixed-income strongholds, and new possibilities versus old ideals.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