A scenic walk along Bedford Avenue
by Lisa A. Fraser
Aug 15, 2011 | 6481 views | 0 0 comments | 125 125 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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On Bedford Avenue you can find old women strolling, bodegas offering any and everything, street vendors with handmade products trying to make a buck and a wide array of young, fashionable people.

But if you walk along Bedford Avenue on the right day, you might also see Matthew Chamberlain snapping shots of Bedford’s authentic character and its offerings.

Chamberlain is behind the blog OnBeford.com, which chronicles in photos the regular occurrences along the longest avenue in Brooklyn.

From Greenpoint and Williamsburg to Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay, the 30-year-old Vinegar Hill resident has traveled the Bedford corridor, which dissects these neighborhoods, leading each visitor of his blog into distinct worlds, all nestled in one borough.

“I actually began by walking on Bedford in Williamsburg, and I was fascinated by how many ATMs there were in a relatively dense area and I started shooting them,” he said. “I didn’t know where it would take me.”

From there, he started doing research about the avenue and realized it was the longest street in the borough. He began to walk the avenue and the blog blossomed from there.

This was in 2008, when Chamberlain first moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan.

He walks Bedford Avenue in pieces, taking photographss. Altogether, he’s walked along it about 50 times. “Whenever I have time, I jump to do it; I dedicate a good chunk of hours,” he said. “I like to find time for this as much as possible.”

The details and essence of a neighborhood could easily be seen in his shots, which he says is obtained by paying attention to small details.

“That’s how I really capture the differences in places, it comes down to the minute stuff,” he said, while noting that he is not in it to surprise any of his photographic subjects. “I just hang out until I’m part of the scenery and people feel comfortable.”

Going out on a weekly or biweekly basis, even if it’s just for an hour, Chamberlain noted that different times of the day evokes different feelings of different neighborhoods.

He has been working on the project for about three years, but his love for photography was discovered 12 years ago. In addition to photos, the blog also

has its share of audio slideshows featuring neighborhood residents that capture even more succinctly the character of the neighborhood.

Although it’s just a project he felt inclined to work on, Chamberlain hopes it reaches a wide array of audiences.

“I hope it could be interesting for the people who live in the areas and may not know the history of the street,” he said. “Or that it’s even something that people outside of New York could really enjoy.”

To see photos and videos of Bedford Avenue, visit onbedford.com
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