David Rothenberg

David Rothenberg is a photographer based in New York whose work focuses on some of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in the United States. He is an adjunct professor of photography at The City University of New York. Rothenberg earned an MFA in Photography from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and a BFA in Photography from Parsons School of Design. In 2017, Rothenberg’s work was included in the exhibition ‘On Freedom’ at the Aperture Foundation Gallery in New York. Rothenberg is the recipient of a 2018 Queens Art Fund New Works Grant for his project ‘Landing Lights Park’. In Fall 2018, ROMAN NVMERALS will publish the project as a limited edition photography book. Rothenberg’s work has recently been published in the New York Times, featured on PDNOnline, and The New Yorker Photo Instagram.

Landing Lights Park

Landing Lights Park puts into focus the New York neighborhood of East Elmhurst, Queens under the whining roar and shadows of inbound jetliners landing at LaGuardia Airport. On many days aircraft descend over LaGuardia Landing Lights Park (several grassy areas and concrete medians near Astoria Boulevard) and surrounding neighborhoods at regular intervals (as short as every 90 seconds) and as low as 150 feet above the ground. The massive scale of a low-flying 757 in relation to small-scale eclectic style homes, amid nests of above-ground telephone wires, is a disorienting sight. My photographs explore this extraordinary intrusion within a landscape of the ordinary.

The project overlaps different photographic genres including landscape, architecture and portraiture. The photographs, while disorienting, remain tied to realism through the specific sense of place within documentary work.

Throughout the project (ROMAN NVMERALS will publish as a limited edition book in Fall 2018) wider shots of the neighborhood and intruding airplanes are interspersed by portraits made with a telephoto lens, depicting passengers midair as they gaze out their windows moments before landing. Taken from vantage points throughout the neighborhood, these images reverse the gaze from the very specific location of East Elmhurst back toward the viewer by showing passengers in close detail as they study the world from above.

To view more of David Rothenberg’s work please visit his website.