South Williamsburg

William Castellana photographs the Satmars – a community of Hasidic Jews from South Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Words by William Castellana

Street photography, in terms of the “unposed,” is a practice that serves the compelling need to distill the ebb and flow of visually complex interactions into static form - forever fixed and with meaning. It is this desire to understand more deeply the rhythms of humanity that takes me to the streets in search of clarity.

In their simplest sense, the images in this series form a social document of a people and a place; namely, a sect of Hasidic Jews known as the Satmars. This sect of Hasidic Jews was founded in Satu Mare, Romania by Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum in the early 20th century. After WWII, Teitelbaum settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to lay the groundwork for a religious ideology that would launch one of the largest Hasidic movements in the world. Since Teitelbaum’s death, the Satmar community has grown exponentially and continues to thrive economically and spiritually through closely observed traditions and social mechanisms.

Between the fall of 2013 and 2014, I set out to photograph my neighbors in the one-half square mile area below Division Avenue, which demarcates the religious from the secular communities of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The photographs in this book are constrained to the “neighborhood view,” since my outsider status made access to a more privileged look impossible.

As an outsider, what I witnessed through my camera during that period was forever new and unique compared to my everyday routine and what the rest of the city’s inhabitants were pulsing to. For me, street photography is about the preservation of time and place - a kind of poetry that distills both in equal measure.

As a publisher and Community Interest Company, TRIP is dedicated to showcasing unconventional stories that may otherwise be overlooked. We aim to give a platform to the unseen and a microphone to the ignored. Expression is a right and should not be confined to those that can afford to work for free; which is why we strive to support a diverse range of creatives in their work, commissioning exciting projects and creatives to visualize them.
 

Founded as a magazine in 2013 by photographer, Dean Davies, TRIP was born from a desire to provide opportunity and exposure for image-makers across multiple platforms and medias. With a focus on people and place, in 5 years TRIP gained a loyal readership, and became known for its honest image output and representation of the underrepresented, featuring over 800 image-makers from across the world through a website, 5 magazines and 3 free zines.
 

As TRIP C.I.C. we are not interested in profiting from the activities of the organization, and re-invest all income back in to consecutive publishing projects.
 

Directors:
Dean Davies
Alfie Allen
 

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