Although Mr. Sternfeld works in color and Mr. Gohlke in black and white, they share an abiding fascination with the visible traces of everyday life on the landscape, and Queens presented them with an exciting challenge. For nearly two years, they traveled the borough, a microcosm of America’s ethnic diversity in which postwar neighborhoods have been transformed by new arrivals from every corner of the globe.
Little Boxes, Transformed by the Years
Mr. Gohlke circumnavigated the borough to examine the points at which it met the East River, Long Island and Brooklyn; he also explored its many parks. But much of the time, he said, “I drove around and let my eyes lead me.”
Walking around neighborhoods, he was often drawn to the borough’s omnipresent and seemingly nondescript single-family houses. By focusing on lovingly added modifications, such as ceremonial ironwork and geometrically cut shrubbery, Mr. Gohlke brings to the fore Queens’s more mundane architecture and the distinctive presence of its current residents.