Mark D Phillips
Medium: Photography and New Media

Studio Location:
MoversNotShakers, 131 3rd Street, Brooklyn
Studio # First Floor



Artist Bio:
Over a forty year career as a photojournalist, Mark D Phillips has witnessed and documented history.

His photograph of the World Trade Center attack, "Satan in the Smoke," was a worldwide phenomenon and represented one of the worst days of his life. "So much of our lifetime is defined by that one day," said Phillips. "To capture such an image was unexplainable."

Over the span of his newspaper and journalism career, he has photographed everything from professional sports to Presidents to a high wire walker crossing above the Yangtze River in China. His photographs have appeared in nearly every major publication worldwide as well as the permanent collection of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

As president of South Brooklyn Internet, he launched, a website dedicated to the arts, photography and happenings of brownstone Brooklyn, featuring much of his own work from the area. He has lived in Brownstone Brooklyn since 1989 and continues to discover new, exciting imagery within the Brooklyn landscape.

Artist Statement:
The Gowanus Canal photographs represent the longest project of my career. I have always found long-term projects everywhere I worked. I never thought I would keep walking along the Gowanus Canal for more than a quarter-century.

In my early years photographing the canal, it had an eerie quality, with collapsed structures lining its banks. ISBrandtsen's old shipping line pier, once one of the busiest in the world, barely remained above the surface of the water, a testament to the decline. The old Central Power Station of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company stands empty on the east bank, a grand skeleton looming high over the water. The building was recently purchased by a philanthropist, and construction is underway with plans to turn it into art studios and exhibition space. Old metal piers have vanished and the silos that stood by the Carroll Street Bridge have transformed into high-end apartment complexes.

The oil still floats atop the water, joined by canoes and paddle boards. There are times when the colorful sheen stretches from bulkhead to bulkhead at the Ninth Street Bridge, creating a mosaic that resembles some of Tiffany's finest stained glass. When the water is calm, the city reflects across its mirrored surface.

Now eight years after it was designated a Superfund site, the EPA has begun a pilot project to determine if their plan for the cleanup will work. Hopefully it can be completed in my lifetime and the families moving to its banks will not suffer any catastrophic problems from the toxic issues of its waters. But for now, it is one of my deepest pleasures and I will continue taking canoes out. Every trip is an experience. Where some people see filth, I truly see artistry.

This year, I have produced a companion book to my exhibit, "30 Years of Gowanus," and will have a limited number of copies available at the show.

I would like to thank Mark Ehrhardt, president of MoversNotShakers, for providing a unique pop up gallery at his corporate headquarters beside the Third Street Bridge over the Gowanus Canal. He is a visionary in the Green movement and a super friend. Look forward to seeing you on the Gowanus.

All images and text copyright Mark D Phillips