If I knew how quaint and romanticised a spot my art-pursuit trail would lead me, I would’ve devoted more time hanging out in New York’s High Line Park.
Some half a decade before my visit, High Line remained in its former manifestation – the same, albeit decaying, since the last train passed through the railway track along 10th Avenue. Certain residents in the neighbourhoods the High Line passes through petitioned against its demolition; instead they advocated preservation, and an ambitious revamp that converted the disused tracks into an elevated communal garden.
It takes the term ‘urban jungle’ to a whole new level. Somewhat fast-paced in our saunter across the length of the greenway, the High Line appeared to change its scenery every ten steps I took: the multitude of floral colours, protruding from both sides of the passerby, confined by surrounding red bricks and graffiti and dissected by the jigsaw-like concrete pavement; sudden seclusion under shrubbery, as though individual branches aspired sentiently to conjoin above our heads to shape a tunnel; overgrowths of green blooming so thickly, that the bronze of corroding metal become choked streaks barely visible under the outburst of nature.
Ultimately, it was the varying textures that appealed to me – the contrast, irony, defiance against monotonicity.
Behind the lens
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Two banes of travel photography: shortage of time and bad weather. Unfortunately, my visit to the High Line was stricken with both.
Even in a flurry of shooting I managed to obtain very few shots I was satisfied with, lesser still proud of. The sky was heavily enshrouded, the timing shortened – and capturing a shot of serenity would fail to portray the park faithfully, since it was virtually impossible to avoid fellow human beings in my frame and hence reflecting just how packed the greenway was.
Amongst the photographs I took this is probably one of my favourites. Even though it by-no-means exhibits the High Line’s appearance on the whole, it gives a sense of contrast between the two predominant textures and their respective themes: the vegetation, flourishing against the odds of a concrete environment, and the rusting iron panels, emanating industrialism and urbanisation, lined against the portal into to the retreat and out into the metropolis of steel.