Todd Selby/The Selby

The Selby has run a really nice story-with-few-words about Andrew Field, chef of Rockaway Taco, in Rockaway Beach, Queens – right by the beach – who loves surfing and keeps bees on his roof (we are always heartened when we discover a New York City beekeeper; it reminds us that nature is here, even in the midst of the city…”build a hive and they will come!…)

We’ve been pondering what makes Todd Selby’s work so compelling. He’s not a great photographer in the usual sense; individual photos are not terribly well-composed or exposed or beautiful. But, man, does that guy have an eye for a story, which he always manages to tell in a compelling way, with lots of photos. He makes sure to choose interesting people in their very personal spaces, honing in on the details and surroundings, so you get a sense of where this person is living and what their life is like, some of what they see when they go about their day. Like this little detail that speaks volumes:

Todd Selby/The Selby

Rockaway Beach is near the airport…planes fly over all the time (who else but Todd Selby would point their camera right up at the sky?)

…and he always asks good questions in his handwritten interview…

Todd Selby/The Selby

His un-styled, uncleaned-up photo essays remind us of all the ways there are to live in this world.  His essays are kind of like a kids books for grown-ups…

Related posts: evocative ideas from “the best of the selby 2010″

tom sach’s philosophy of making

is creativity the enemy?

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2 replies on “new york city beekeeper/surfer

  1. but wait – there (may) be more to the story.
    this picture of a rooftop apiary is fascinating.
    we can tell that the hives are new b/c the paint is not stained from bees dropping propolus and pollen on the front face and b/c there is no propolus under the lid. the bees use propolus to chink their hives.
    another interesting item is the box just behind andrew’s left elbow. it looks like the wired cages that they ship ‘packages’ of bees in. if so, then he has recently expanded his apiary.
    then there is the metal screen leaning against the low wall on the right which might be a queen excluder. this is inserted between the ‘brood chamber’ where the queen is actively laying eggs while the workers are raising young and the honey ‘supers’ above. it prevents the queen from laying eggs where the beekeeper wants to raise honey. it may be waiting to go on the new hive with the first ‘super.’
    the beekeeper adds ‘supers’ as the bees fill them with honey. so the hive on the right has two full depth supers on top which is a sign that andrew is going to have buckets of honey.
    well done!


  2. You are a sleuth, Pippin. This is great and illuminating observation of evidence. (What you write rings true, and jars loose memories of a beekeeper friend years ago…of bees using propolis to chink their hives…etc. a magical business altogether…) It expands the post mightily. Thank you!

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