Landing Lights Park

David Rothenberg

2017 - 2018

‘Landing Lights Park’ focuses on the neighborhood that lies beneath the whining roar and shadows of jetliners landing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. My photographs explore this extraordinary intrusion within a landscape of the ordinary. I use the camera to find meaning in the visual slippages that I encounter, such as the faces of passengers in midair who pass over my home in Queens. The camera’s ability to suspend motion to reveal hidden forms, one of the earliest properties of fascination for the medium, still holds true for me in illuminating an essentially universal contemporary experience in an unexpected way.

The jetliners that descend over LaGuardia Landing Lights Park and surrounding neighborhood of East Elmhurst (often at 90 second intervals and as low as 150 feet above ground) are an unnerving presence. 'Landing Lights Park' depicts this phenomenon as a sequence of disorienting photographic collisions. Photographs of the neighborhood landscape and low-flying airplanes are interspersed with portraits of passengers in midair as they gaze out their windows moments before landing, taken from the ground with a telephoto lens. Using extremely fast shutter speeds and taken from vantage points throughout the neighborhood, these images reverse the gaze from the very specific location of East Elmhurst back toward the viewer by showing passengers in close detail as they study the world from above.

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  • Landing Lights Portrait (Raleigh-Durham Intl to LaGuardia)

  • Alaskan (Dallas Love Field to LaGuardia)

  • Comfort Inn (Southwest, Astoria Blvd)

  • American (Cleveland Hopkins to LaGuardia)

  • Wires and Fence (Miami Intl to LaGuardia)

  • Landing Lights Portrait (Charlotte/Douglas Intl to LaGuardia)

  • Reflection (Comfort Inn)

  • Landing Lights Portrait (Southwest Florida Intl to LaGuardia)

  • 82nd Street and Astoria Boulevard (Trees)

  • Landing Lights Portrait (Emergency Exit)

  • Untitled (Don't Tread on Me)

  • Landing Lights Portrait (iPhone X)

  • Landing Lights Portrait (American Eagle)

  • 30th Avenue and 77th Street (Open window)

  • Landing Lights Portrait (United)

  • Astoria Blvd (Star Light)

  • Wires and Ivy (Alley)

  • Landing Lights Portrait (Nashville to LaGuardia)

  • Untitled (White Banner)

  • Landing Lights Portrait (Chicago Midway to LaGuardia)