BUCKLAND  FARM (Birth of a Park) series 1999-present

Buckland Park, Brighton NY                                                                         ©  Bruno Chalifour, 2006

When, in the fall of 1999, we moved from the Park Av. area in Rochester NY to the 'burbs, namely Brighton, I was not too enthused. No sidewalks, no cafés, no pubs, just lawns, almost plastic the way they are mowed. Mailboxes line the side of the streets; cars out, cars in that's all you see of your neighbors unless they have kids the same age as yours. Local social life reaches a low that I had rarely experienced before. Malls are definitely not my cup of tea. Winter here makes things worse, were it not for morning coffee in cafés. Night life becomes morning life, a few minutes stolen...on the way to work. At the time coffee was bad, a brown transparent liquid sitting and getting burnt in vast glass jars, Starbucks had not caffeined us yet and a good cup of espresso was a rare treat.

Then, a block away from our house, on the other side of Westfall road, I discovered "Buckland farm", "the future home of Buckland Park." At least I had moved to a township guided by a team that understood the importance of green spaces in the lives of people, young and old, it social and healthy addition to our lives. I heard they had to fight with a local church though, interesting anecdote. Thou shalt love thy neighbour,...or something like that. It was not the Church of Collaboration apparently (those even worked during the Inquisition and World War II though, but not here, not now!).

The very first week I started to photograph the farmland with a panoramic camera as part of my MFA thesis; I have not stopped since. The park officially opened in the spring of 2006. The photograph above was taken on the morning of the dedication day under supervisor Frankel, with the Park and Recreation people checking that everything was ship shape.