The Iron Hand in the Silk Glove:
The Rise and Demise of Industry in Paterson, NJ
Allied Textile Printing Site
Showing until January 19, 2020
The ATP site rests derelict since its final closure in
1986 after over 190 years of continuous operation.
The astonishing variety of Paterson’s industries of
cotton and silk weaving, iron foundries, military
firearms, textile dyeing and finishing all began here
in 1792. Through large format, hand-printed, silver
photographs, this exhibition tells the story of these
“factories below the falls” - in context of the ATP
landscape of 2006.
Meet the Artist
Since the early 1990s I have focused my interest in exploring, researching and presenting postindustrial American landscapes through traditional large format black and white photography. My body of work is called Industrial Strength, showcasing the reclamation of forlorn Northeastern gritty cities, and abandoned mining sites of the Western deserts, by nature’s timeless march. My photographs and inspiration are based in the legacy of the great photo documentarians such as Ansel Adams, whose approach to seeing and representing the American landscape was to participate in the timeless epoch of place, serenity, unspoiled natural beauty and grand scale. Fostering deep connection to our country’s exquisite places through the masterful technique and art of photography, Adams and his contemporaries connected us to what remains of a nostalgic vision of the nineteenth-century American frontier; a vast and timeless place ruled only by nature and populated by ancient people. Using similar motives and techniques, my experience with postindustrial places and landscapes over the past thirty years is manifested in gorgeous, intimate photographs of juxtapositions - the ongoing conflict of man with nature; the nostalgia of the frontier of abundance and of a strong, industrial economy; the prowess of American engineering versus the struggle of immigration and social justice.
I began working for the City of Paterson in 2005, responding to their search for an industrial archaeologist due to a complex cultural resources project that needed to be completed in coordination with the State and the National Park Service. The project concerned the Allied Textile Printers (ATP) site, a six-acre ruinous industrial complex just below the Great Falls on the Passaic River. Today - fifteen years later - I continue my work in my position as Director of Division of Historic Preservation, and Executive Director of the Historic Preservation Commission on behalf of the City of Paterson to redevelop the ATP site as part of the Great Falls National Historical Park. The first half of the ATP site is currently under planning and construction on the Quarry Lawn and River Walk will begin next year. Planning for next steps on redeveloping the rest of the ATP site are also beginning.