Silence. A lack of humans. Light on textured abstraction. Chaotic forms unfolding all around you, creating a hypnosis of spirit that just might convince you there is a Creator after all. These are the qualities I think of when experiencing ‘wilderness’. And yet the same tingle runs down my spine while wandering the industrial streets of Gowanus, Brooklyn, at night.
My vision for this ongoing series is to capture a unique marriage of opposites; the organic in the industrial, life surrounded by decay, green within blacks and grays, stillness and peace in urban chaos. I aim to turn concepts of nature photography on their head by finding the beautiful in what most consider to be a man-made environmental catastrophe. The Gowanus Canal is one of the most polluted waterways in the country and the neighborhood has seen continuous industrial use since the 19th century. As our urban communities grapple with how to connect with feelings of wilderness in a world that offers sterile landscape architecture as an outlet to nature, a fascinating landscape can be found in the fringes of our decaying city where nature and chaos produce a new type of wild beauty.
Photographer and director Miska Draskoczy fell in love with cameras at age 14 and has been behind them ever since. His career has included diverse projects such as co-founding a conceptual arts organization purporting to be funded by NATO (NATOarts), directing several surreal sci-fi shorts that screened in film festivals worldwide (Fantasia Fest, Fantastic Fest, SF IndieFest, LA Shorts Fest, and many others), writing and developing a horror feature (Mister Gimp, Slamdance Screenplay semi-finalist) and creating a documentary web series about objects in people’s homes (Here’s the Thing…). His photography has been exhibited in the US and Canada and most recently earned him the Portraits 2013 Juror’s Award at the Center for Fine Art Photography and the 2013 Director’s Choice Award at the Midwest Center for Photography for his series Gowanus Wild. In addition to his personal projects, Miska works as a director, editor, and animator for a wide range of commercial clients through his production company snow23. His passion for wilderness comes from a deep love of rock and ice climbing and all things winter.