Monday, September 20, 2010

Brooklyn 1776-2010 Cortelyou House Brooklyn

The Cortelyou House or the “Old Stone House” is part of my photo-documentation of revolutionary war sites in the New York City area. I originally planned to use the photographs as a starting point for creating paintings. I envisioned starting with a contemporary photograph that I would print & attach to a wood panel. Next I would paint over top. The over painting would indicate the original or 1776 time period view of the same location. In other words how I would imagine the view would have looked back then. However I have not come up with a convincing process to do the painting. In the mean time I am quite content creating a photographic record of various sites that were important in the battles of 1776.
For this project I used my trusty Holga panorama pinhole camera. The day was quite sunny so my exposure was about 10 seconds. I did have a mishap with this roll. About half way through, I had a hard time advancing the film. I had to crank way too hard for a plastic camera, but I felt something give way and it advanced normally for the rest of the roll. When I opened the camera I found that the small piece of foam that is suppose to maintain tension on the film spool had come off. The foam ended up getting wound up with the film. Some how the foam must have become stuck to the film I forced it to rip off and get wound up in the roll! The roll was fogged near the end but I managed to get some interesting shots.
The Old Stone House has a long history. During the Battle of Brooklyn (or the Battle of Long Island) it was the spot of the heroic stand by the Maryland troops under the command of William Smallwood. The troops attacked the house six times losing 200 in the process. This delaying action enabled the rest of Washington’s army to fall back across the Gowanus Canal ; regroup in prepared defenses guarding Brooklyn Heights. More importantly it discouraged General Howe from continuing his attack for time being. His delay in attacking later enabled General Washington to retreat to Manhattan and escape. Thus insuring that the revolution would continue.

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