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Queens Brought to Life in Black and White

By Karis Fuller
Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Life in a bustling city and life in a quiet suburb can contrast as harshly as light and darkness. Senior photography major Matthew Gelfman displayed his work at the S.A.L Gallery from March 27-31. Gelfman’s exhibit, “Suburban Boy,” featured 22 black and white photos taken in Flushing, Queens. The Smithtown resident was born in Flushing before moving to Long Island. “This is a picture of where I could have lived, could have grown up,” Gelfman said. Because his parents worked in and grew up in Flushing, he is familiar with the area. “Even though they were the ones that chose to bring me out to suburbia, they still made fun of me and they called me a ‘Suburban Boy,’” he said.

Photo by Karis Fuller
Matthew Gelfman, senior photography major

Gelfman uses his artwork to express the culture in Flushing, and the transitions the area has made in recent years. “It shows the evolution, like how an area can just change completely,” he said. However; the show does not have a racial undertone. “Race is irrelevant to me with these pictures, it’s about the emotion of the individual,” Gelfman said.

His subjects include an array of people of various ages and backgrounds. “It’s about each person; they’re on their daily commute, everyone’s just trying to get by. I’m hoping to show all these different people in this world,” Gelfman said. “We are all the same as much as we are different.”

Gelfman selected 22 photos from approximately 5,000 that he took in Flushing to comprise his exhibition. In the future, he hopes to release a book containing 175 of those photos. From this project, he learned about an area that his family grew up in, exploring the different people and faces that now live there.

“It was a great experience, learning about myself,” he said. “It’s sort of an exploration of the people and myself.”

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