NEW YORK, June 18, 2007 – As the High Line park takes shape above the streets of New York City, construction fencing in the neighborhood will feature improvised outdoor art galleries covered with photographs of High Line supporters from the local community and beyond, Friends of the High Line (FHL) announced today.
The group will also launch a Web site featuring the portraits, www.thehighline.org/portraits.
Dubbed “The High Line Portrait Project” and made possible with a $50,000 donation from Fujifilm, the photographs capture the spirit of the inventive new park that is being built atop the High Line elevated rail structure, which runs through the Manhattan neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.
Fujifilm’s contribution to FHL will help support community outreach efforts, including the Portrait Project, in the final year before the Park’s opening. The first section of the Park (Gansevoort to 20th Street) is slated to open to the public in the summer of 2008.
“Set atop an out-of-use freight rail trestle, the High Line will be a park like no other. It shows the creativity and innovation that makes New York City great,” said Robert Hammond, Co-Founder of FHL, a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the preservation and reuse of the High Line. “What started as a few people's dream turned into a community project, gained worldwide support and is finally becoming a reality. The High Line shows what can happen when we dream big.”
What's Your Dream? The High Line Portrait Project
The Portrait Project is driven by the enthusiasm and dedication of the Friends of the High Line, with support from Fujifilm and noted event and fashion photographer Tom Kletecka (whose client list includes designer Marc Jacobs, Travel + Leisure magazine and Cartier).
Kletecka volunteered his time to photograph High Line supporters in front of a backdrop of the High Line as photographed by Joel Sternfeld, whose images of the High Line were instrumental in bringing public attention to the project in 2000. Each participant at the photo events received a commemorative copy of his or her portrait to take home, courtesy of Fujifilm’s digital printing technology.
The portraits will be displayed in several locations surrounding the High Line during the summer of 2007. The High Line is proof that the most far-fetched imaginings can come true, and each person who is photographed for the Portrait Project was asked, "What’s your dream?" after their picture was taken. Their answers will appear with their photos on the Portrait Project web site, www.thehighline.org/portraits.
The images will also be compiled in a commemorative publication. "The High Line Portrait Project is a unique way to showcase the dynamic group of supporters who have guided the project from dream to reality," said Adrian Benepe, Commissioner, New York City Parks & Recreation. "The High Line itself is a work of art and there is no better way to celebrate its supporters than through this exciting exhibition."
In the summer of 2006, the High Line and Fujifilm collaborated on another photography project. Two hundred children who live in the local community received Fujifilm QuickSnap one-time-use cameras and were asked to take pictures of things they thought were important and interesting. The photos were then exhibited along the concourse gallery of Manhattan's Chelsea Market. Originally the National Biscuit Company and a stop on the High Line, Chelsea Market is now home to small shops that sell gourmet food.
You can see these images at: http://www.thehighline.org/gallery/cameraproject. “The need to find, protect or create greenways, particularly in such a unique, visual way is so important as part of a global effort to maintain a balance with the environment,” said Camilla Jenkins, Vice President, Corporate Communications, FUJIFILM. “The ideals and project fit perfectly with Fujifilm's global commitment to preservation, conservation and community cultural efforts. This effort has succeeded tremendously already and we hope this project will remind other companies and individuals that there continues to be a great need for community support for the High Line now and into the future.”
The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure on Manhattan’s West Side. Built in the 1930’s, the High Line was originally a rail trestle for freight trains into and out of lower Manhattan until it went out of use in 1980. FHL is a community-based 501(c)(3) non-profit group that was formed in 1999 to protect the historic structure, then under threat of demolition. FHL’s mission is to preserve the structure for reuse as an elevated public open space. FHL gained the City’s support in 2002. The High Line south of 30th Street was donated to the City by CSX Transportation Inc. in 2005. The team of Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro is now at work on a design for the High Line’s public landscape. Construction began in spring 2006. The first phase is projected to open in the summer of 2008.
Fujifilm brings continuous innovation and leading-edge products to a broad spectrum of industries including medical, life sciences, consumer electronic, chemical, graphic arts, information systems, photography and office products based on its vast portfolio of digital, optical, fine chemical and thin film coating technologies. The company provides products and services that contribute to the advancement of culture, science, technology and industry, as well as to improved health and environmental protection.