Gowanus Wild is an exploration of nature and wilderness in the paradoxical setting of a contaminated industrial environment. I photographed the series in my local neighborhood of Gowanus, Brooklyn, home of the notorious Gowanus Canal which has been declared a federal Superfund cleanup site and seen over 150 years of continuous industrial use. One of my aims with the series is to show just how tenacious nature can be in the face of such grave environmental destruction.
Matching nature’s resilience is the human ability to connect with nature in the most unlikely of places. I believe wilderness and adventure are natural longings and that satisfying these urges is closer than we may think, if only we alter how we view our surroundings.
Since I began shooting Gowanus Wild in 2012, I had always envisioned the project coming together as a book. I’ve often thought of these images as little discoveries found along the trail and that collecting them into book form would serve as something of a field guide to an urban wilderness environment. To that end, I’ve written short bits of poetry which I’ve paired with selected images, exploring a sense of urban transcendentalism. I’m raising funds to cover the bulk of printing costs and publish the book through a new imprint I’m launching, Tarn Editions. Gowanus Wild will be one of several other books in the pipeline to be published in the coming year.
I’m working on the layouts with the talented Emily Shornick, a photo editor and producer at New York Magazine. She has previously worked at Conde Nast, American Lawyer Media, Spin Magazine and The International Center of Photography. Her work has been honored by American Photography and PDN. Shornick currently sits on the board of ASPP NY and resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Miska Draskoczy fell in love with cameras as a teenager and has been behind them ever since. His photography has been widely exhibited in the US and abroad and is the recipient of numerous awards. His urban wilderness series, Gowanus Wild, has been exhibited as a solo show at The Brooklyn Public Library, Davis Orton Gallery, the Vermont Center for Photography and Ground Floor Gallery in Brooklyn, NY as well as in group shows such as THE FENCE at PHOTOVILLE 2013. His work has been featured in the press by The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Out, Brooklyn Magazine, PDN, The Photo Review, Featureshoot, Hyperallergic and many others as well as collected by institutions such as Tufts University and the Fitchburg Art Museum.