To start the New Year shuttering, photography instructor Curtis Willocks takes his photo club to Coney Island on New Year’s day. There another club meets: It’s the Polar Bears‘ yearly pilgrimage and first swim of the New Year.
- The Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s New Year’s Day swim
- These bears and their onlookers come in all sizes, shapes and costumes. “It’s like an arts festival,” says Willocks who has been coaxing students to photograph the Polar Bear’s first swim since 1987. There’s the Rubby Ducky and Metro Man and other strange people. There’s some people in bathing who shouldn’t be in bathing suits. We go and have fun.” And yes, confirms Willocks. “We all swim.”
- “It’s like an arts festival down there” says Willocks
It’s a tradition now. After the swim Willocks’ group goes to a Vietnamese restaurant. “We eat for two or three hours. It’s the way we start the New Year.”
- The Polar Bears Club’s first swim of the New Year
- According to The Coney Island Polar Bear Club website, the Club was founded in 1903 by Bernarr Macfadden. The “Father of Physical Culture,” Macfadden was an advocate of physical fitness and natural foods.
Photos by: FIT photography student and Polar Bear enthusiast Arina Malukova
It just got easier to get published if you’re a member Curtis Willocks’ Photo Club or Introduction to Digital Photography course. In fact, publishing an e- photo book is a class assignment, making this exhibit currently on view in the D lobby a rather professional collection of homework assignments.
Timothy Colose, author of “The Journey: Ten Days Around America”
“Most people take a thousand pictures in one photo shoot, put them on their computer and hardly look at them again,” says Timothy Colose, a member of the Photo Club and recent BFA photography grad. “People put a value on a book. They’ll pour over it in a way they wouldn’t on a screen. You can feel the cover, the pages. The book even has a smell. That’s something you don’t get enough of in the modern world.”
Colose’s book “The Journey: Ten Days Around America,” is the culmination of photographs taken on a 10-day trip around the perimeter of the U.S. It was a time when Beth, his girlfriend “bonded with the cat,” jokes Colose.
“It’s a great project Prof. Willocks tells Colose about his work. “But I wouldn’t stop. I’d take a refined version and hit different countries.”
Brandon Brinkley, a summer school student in fashion & photography, peruses photo books in D lobby.
- Adrian Saich making the rounds of photo books in the D Lobby
The book themes are diverse — portrait, self-portrait, nature, family documentation, self-expression. “Look at this book,” says Willocks pointing to one called “Learn How to Swim.” “There’s another on Windgate Park in Flatbush.” The student book author “went in and talked to gang members. It took time but she persuaded them to talk to her.”
Colose says his e-book gives him a greater presence professionally. “This can go on a resume or cover letter. Having a book makes it part of the world.”
The D lobby at FIT is located on the ground floor of the D building at the corner of 27 St & 7th Avenue. The e-photo book exhibit remains on display through August 2011.