Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Capturing the World: Isak

The sheer number of different kinds of people represented in Brooklyn is staggering. Among the 2.5 million souls who brave residence in the city's largest borough--that is 35,000 per square mile according to 2008 census statistics--there are 93 different ethnic groups, 150 nationalities and 136 languages spoken.

My friend Isak Tiner, an amazing image-maker, decided to mark this incredible gathering of greatness all in one place, training his camera on just one microcosm of it, the incredibly diverse faces of the children at his beautiful daughter's school, P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens.

Among the nearly 200 images he shot and posted on the wall in the lobby of the school are kids that span the globe from Sweden to Guatemala, many of them mixes of a variety of heritages that they can draw from for their own unique sense of self. One actually eschewed the moniker of specific place, using instead the more encompassing description of "Planetarian."

I met Isak a long while back when he and his beautiful daughter, Imann, bounded into Naidre's with a spirit I hardly see. By the time he left, with a gold star smack dab in the middle of his forehead (an image he quickly e-mailed to me), I was sold: I wanted him to take my picture. How could I not? I hated photographs of myself but this man, clearly, could see things others could not, I could tell from his eyes and it was confirmed when I went on his site, Pink Parrot Pictures, and saw the photographs he has taken. My blog photo is one of his from a great, fun day we spent shooting at my house shortly after our first meeting.

I love that Isak has put his great eye to helping the kids of Brooklyn appreciate where they are from and the places from which those around them might hail.

"By placing these faces together, we've given everyone a chance to stop and actually see each other...to try to understand how deep and rich everyone has the potential to be," he said.

Isak stops and sees people every day around Carroll Gardens, riding regally on his awesome bike, sometimes stopping to capture the beauty he sees in people, in places, in the world.

And that's why I gave Isak Tiner a (second) gold star!

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