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Arts & Entertainment

SUNSET PARK: A meeting of two cultures, a photographic exhibition

Stumbling, by accident, upon the lives of the Asian and Hispanic populations in Brooklyn gave Larry Siegel, a photographer for 60 years who now lives in Bay Ridge, the inspiration to capture their everyday moments.

“I like how you look,” Siegel told them and he went about doing his business. The street photographer, who is 78 years old, came upon Sunset Park during his explorations around the borough. For eight months, ever since, he has been walking in the neighborhood and enjoying the numerous cultural activities that are provided in the area, as well as the beautiful park.

I don’t find the picture, the picture finds me,” he remarked.

Siegel will be exhibiting his depictions of the lives of the two immigrant groups at two venues. The Sunset Park Library, 5108 Fourth Avenue., will have his pictures up from January 7 through January 28 and the Amalgamated Bank, 4502 Fifth Avenue, will display them starting January 14 until January 28.

The photos tell the story of everyday people doing everyday things. “I sort of want to stay invisible,” Siegel said, adding that he likes to capture “images of them that are real.” Some of his subjects even ask him why they’re being photographed, to which Siegel responds that they’re part of a rich culture that he wants to save in prints.

“I’m surprised that people were interested. They did the right thing of living in Sunset Park,” Siegel joked. Siegel, however, said that he “did it for himself,” without expecting to display his works of art to the public. “I hope they enjoy seeing themselves. They have a better life than they realize. Some are from middle-low income families, and they look like they’re really happy.”

Throughout his life-long career, Siegel has received numerous grants, including the National Endowment of the Arts and the New York State Arts Council. In 1968, Siegel worked as a photographer for the Mexican Olympic Games and even taught photography at the National University in Mexico, where he learned Spanish. He has also traveled around the world, exhibiting in Milan and Spain.

“I want people to take pride and say ‘Hey somebody cares about me,’” he noted.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Culture Affairs.

To check out more of Larry Siegel’s photographs, visit his website at: www.larrysiegel-photographs.com.

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