“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Joshua Lutz
Under the auspices of finding Jimmy Hoffa’s body I started to explore the meadowlands ten years ago. What initially started as a strict documentary project has evolved into something else entirely.Located in the most populated area of the United States, two miles west of Manhattan is a 32 square mile radius of wetlands known as The Meadowlands. Two thirds of these wetlands have already been filled in and turned into an industrial wasteland commingling with motels and gas stations. This landscape that has been dumped in, paved over, deforested, and mined still remains to be one of the most alluring wetlands capable of continuing to recover. The immense wilderness of the meadowlands could potentially become one the great 21st-century open spaces for the
13 million people of the New York-New Jersey Metropolitan areas. However it is about to see more projected growth inthe next year than it has in the previous fifty. The construction of Xanadu, a five million square foot entertainment and retail complex in conjunction with the growth of newly built, poorly planned communities could forever change these wetlands.On one level this project can stand as a document of this landscape as it is today. It can act as a call to action to preserve a fading landscape and environment of open space. On the other hand this project has evolved into addressing issues unrelated to the specifics of the document.I am often thinking about creating images that convey a mood or a feeling, how the meadowlands can serve as a metaphor for other issues that I am struggling with. For me it is a place of loneliness and solitude. A place where people pass through on their way to someplace else and occasionally a place where people convene, stopping at motels tospend the night to fill up on cheap gas and cheap sex. These somewhat disparate images tell different stories. I think of them as songs on an album that build upon each other. The songs may be about something specific, but more often than not the specifics become less important than the feelings conveyed.