If you are familiar with Liberty State Park in Jersey City, then you will probably recognize the scene in the above photograph. It’s the walk way along Audrey Zapp Drive leading into the park, with lower Manhattan in the background. If you aren’t familiar with the park, then that photograph gives you an idea of what you might see when you visit that part of the park.
What of this photograph:
Yes, I DID take that photo when I was in the park. But I don’t remember where I was standing when I took that photo and have no more than a vague idea of how to get back there. That photograph is so very specific as to exact time and place that there is almost no change that that scene could be duplicated in another photograph. One could surely photograph another scene more o less like it in the park. But one could also take a similar photograph in any of thousands of other places. And yet that is a photograph of Liberty State Park.
So, what does it make to take a photograph of Liberty State Park? One photo can be used to jog one’s memory of the place, or to set expectations of what you’ll set when you get there. The other is very specific, and it evokes a mood, a feeling, one you can find IN the park. But is it typical? Does that matter?
The next photo is like the first in that it shows a recognizable feature of the park, the Liberty Science Center:
And this one is like the second; it was taken in the park, but could have been taken any one of many places:
And then we have this photo:
The Statue of Liberty, though small, blurred and in the background, is immediately recognizable. But it’s not actually in the park, though its nearness to the park is what gives the park its name. But what’s the greenery in front? That looks like exotic jungle foliage, and it’s here in New Jersey, across the bay from Manhattan. The jungle!? What world are we living in?
What world indeed.
But then, isn’t that what parks are for, to take is into a different world?
We live in a world taken over by tall buildings and strange machines. Nothing natural about them. Yet, to us, they are natural, they are familiar.
But then we thought we knew the sun, and dandelions too. Do we, really?
Are those blazing cranes in Bayonne?
That tree can’t be from an African savanna, can it? No, it’s exotic Jersey City.
Like these cattails:
And these wildflowers:
Trees and vines:
Time to calm down a bit:
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Other photo essays set in Jersey City:
- The 6th Street Embankment
- Jersey City, a Photo Essay
- Jersey City, a Second Photo Essay
- The Demolition of St. Francis Hospital in Jersey City
- Welcome to Eden: The Bergen Arches
- Can the Chilltown Rebels Defeat the Empire so that They May Live Long and Prosper? (A Photo-Essay)
- Liberty Marina: Fair Weather and Foul: A Photo Essay