Can the heart of a neighborhood be captured through photography? A young photographer has tried to do just that by photographing residents of Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
Originally a small-town girl from Maine, Courtney Mooney became enraptured by the neighborhood after moving there when she finished school. So she started photographing the people she met there.
The Souls of Lefferts is her first solo show and features hand-printed black-and-white images.
It opened Sunday, January 30, in collaboration with PLG Arts, a community arts group, and Deffo Media, a Brooklyn based company that works to promote young creatives, at the neighborhood’s local cafe Tugboat.
Above and below are some of her photos, with captions in Mooney’s own words. Brownstoner got the opportunity to talk to Mooney about her life, inspiration, and relationship with the neighborhood:
Brownstoner: What inspired you to start this project?
This neighborhood will not be the same in five years. The same people will not be here. There will be a loss of something beautiful and although I seek to connect to what exists today, I am part of this loss.
Brownstoner: Tell us a little bit about the people you photographed.
There are the community activists, who understand something needs to be built and created. These people value community; I have photographed many of them. Then there are those who share this space, who are a part of PLG’s long-standing identity and traditions that make Brooklyn beautiful.
Brownstoner: Are you from Brooklyn?
Courtney Mooney: I grew up in rural white Maine. My dad is Native American and quite dark, but my childhood was void of any Native American traditions. Foreign culture has been something I always craved.
How did you end up in Prospect Lefferts Gardens?
It was love that brought me here.
When I first moved here, I felt out of place, more I felt we were imposing. Which we are. But PLG was far cheaper than anywhere else, and more beautiful than places like Williamsburg.
Brownstoner: What’s your end goal for the project?
My end goal for the project is to be able to give salutation and preservation to this space as it is, for the people here.
Brownstoner: What’s next?
I plan to conduct similar projects. Perhaps, I will become connected to another Brooklyn neighborhood in the way I am here.
[Photos and captions by Courtney Mooney, except as noted above]
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