“Film Focus: Brooklyn Exhibit Explores the Enduring Beauty of the Ephemeral”

Posted By NYC Newswire

By Hannah Berman

The line at Brooklyn Film Camera on a recent weekday night crawled out of the door and moved lazily forward. The shop was packed. It was barely possible to choke through the crowd inside to get to the backyard yurt.

Surprisingly, people weren’t waiting to see the work of a famous photographer — rather, they queued up to see a group show featuring 19 local and mostly unknown artists, titled Sacred Implications.

Brooklyn Film Camera is a Bushwick photography shop specializing in film cameras. Founder Kyle Depew opened the shop in 2015 as a Brooklyn Flea stall, and later expanded to a small Bushwick studio space without a storefront. In 2022, the concept finally found its permanent Bushwick home, accessible to the public and complete with space to gather. Ever since then, Depew has been using the store as a gallery.

Carly McGoldrick, operations manager, and Callan Thomas, studio lead, collaborated to curate a new type of show for the space this month— one focused on community and accessibility.

Carly McGoldrick and Callan Thomas co-curated the show. Photo: Hannah Berman for BK Reader

Brooklyn Film Camera’s Instagram account has a far reach, and Thomas and McGoldrick wanted to harness it. They put out a call for submissions for photos focused on a theme — “ephemerality” — and got back over 300 submissions.

“We didn’t explicitly ask for the information, but sort of serendipitously, it seems to be a lot of people’s first time exhibiting work,” McGoldrick said. “A lot of the work is great, and it isn’t necessarily like the stuff that I’ve seen circulating at galleries and museums recently.”

The curators wanted to make both the theme and the contest, with a $5 application fee, accessible.

“As photographers, we both have faced the challenges of displaying work,” said Thomas. “Oftentimes, open calls have pretty steep submission fees, which deter you from wanting to even submit. If it’s $20, and you might not get into the show, that’s two meals that you could have, you know? So we wanted to keep the fee really low.”

Photos presented at “Sacred Implications,” including Brett Henrikson’s image in the center. Photo: Hannah Berman for BK Reader


According to Brett Henrikson, the low cost and the focus on community made him much more eager to participate.

“Brooklyn Film Camera is local, and their mission is really about supporting the photography community,” Henrikson said in a statement to BK Reader. “So when I heard about this call, it felt like an opportunity to show work in an active local community of photographers.”

Henrikson’s featured piece was front and center in the gallery space — it is an 8×10 paper negative photo of sand through water, honoring Henrikson’s grief after the loss of his brother, Conor.

“Grief and ephemerality are so deeply interconnected,” Henrikson wrote. “Visually, [my] piece represents time and ephemerality through the echoing sand ripples; there is a persistence to them that softly fades off in the image, a metaphor for loss.”

The show’s opening attracted more people than McGoldrick and Thomas had bet on.

A crowd watches and documents the slideshow that highlighted 300 works of photography. Photo: Hannah Berman for BK Reader


Mai Nguyen is a long-time Instagram follower. “I saw they were doing an open call submission for this exhibition, and I was like, ‘I can do that,’” she said. “I’ve never submitted to anything before. So it was nice to be able to share work out into the ether with a possibility it could be displayed.”

Philadelphia-based film photographer Hannah Meier also found out about the show via Instagram. She decided to travel into the city for the day to see the show, and had a midnight train back to Philly scheduled.

“I heard about the open call and I was like, ‘Yes. That sounds so cool,'” she said. “So I submitted my stuff, got into the slideshow, and I was like, ‘I also wanna come and check it out. …  I wanted to come to meet other photographers.”

“Sacred Implications” runs through March 31 at Brooklyn Film Camera, located at 855 Grand Street. Open Tuesday–Sunday, 1–7pm. 

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