THE UNKNOWN FAMILIAR
AN INTERVIEW WITH NIV ROZENBERG
Niv Rozenberg is a photographic artist based in Brooklyn, yet finds his origins in Israel. His work 'Boswijck' offers an exploration of the ever-changing contemporary urban landscapes of modern society. How do we, in an, approaching, post-human society experience our immediate habitat? Can we still speak of the existence of an immediate habitat or has Technology completely diverted the ways in which one connects with their 'original' life-hood? Extremely intrigued about these queries, we sat down with Niv and discussed the status of urbanism today.
"Could you please start by telling us a bit about you and your work?"
I am a Brooklyn-based photographer, originally form Israel. I moved to New York about nine years ago to pursue my MFA in Photography from Parsons (The New School for Design). I was always fascinated by architecture and the urban environment that surrounds me, especially after moving to New York City.
My work explores complexities within the urban environment, shifting between straight photography and digital manipulation. I am fascinated by the way, in which the place I live in functions, and the constant changing appearance of my surroundings. My work often isolates visual and spatial congestion within the built environment and creates hyper realistic views of my immediate habitat. Being a foreigner both in my chosen home and my birth home, I view my surroundings with a conflicted gaze of familiar yet unknown.
"The way you cut out buildings and place them on different backgrounds is fascinating, how did you come to start creating work in this style?"
I started photographing buildings next to where I lived, both from rooftops above and from street level across. I wanted to emphasise their uniqueness by separating them from the visual noise of their surroundings. Finally, by using digital manipulation the work deconstructs these facades to a variety of forms and colours, which highlight the neighbourhood’s mixed architectural history.
"What themes does your work touch upon?"
The series “Boswijck” focuses on the unique cityscape of Bushwick neighbourhood in Brooklyn New York. I am intrigued by the neighbourhood’s colourful and mixed architecture and history. The work titled “Boswijck” – the neighbourhood’s original name, meaning “little town in the woods” – highlights this diversity by visually isolating different architectural styles, deconstructing these facades to a variety of forms and colours, and showing them as vivid abstract two-dimensional relics.
"How would you categories your work, are these images collage? How would you define yourself as an artist?"
For my work I use both straight photography and digital manipulation, but photography is always the staring point for my work.
"Where do you draw your inspiration from?"
This work was initially inspired by the subject matter itself. Living in the neighbourhood for a few years, walking by these colourful buildings everyday drew me to finally bring my camera and document them.
I also admire the work of the Dusseldorf School of Photography, and by Bernd and Hilla Becher typologies work, which I think had some inspiration here as well.