ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – You may have seen photographer “Downtown Gerry Brown” riding his bike around downtown Elmira, snapping photos of the everyday lives of the people of Elmira. Now the man known as the “cycling photographer” is getting ready to release his first book on Thursday titled “The Elmirans.”
“A good photograph tells a story, and Elmira has a lot of stories,” Brown told 18 News reporter Nicolas Dubina.
“What does your photography reveal?” asked Dubina.
“I like to think that what’s revealed is just what’s revealed in humanity itself,” said Brown. “I look for those moments that are right out in the open but we never see. It’s my pursuit. To find those and capture them. They reveal a part of our nature and that helps us connect.”
“What do you want people to take away when they pick up this book and see the photographs? asked Dubina.
“Well, my hope is that they connect to it in an emotional way, because that’s what makes a good image work and how they interpret that is for them,” said Brown. “I don’t want to put any other expectation on them, other than to look and see what they come out with.”
Born and raised in Elmira, Brown says a high school hobby turned into a passion two years ago when he picked up a camera again during the pandemic. Brown says he currently uses a digital Fujifilm camera designed specifically for street photography. Now he is releasing what he says will be his first book in a collection of works.
“Well, once I realized that I was onto something I went to Community Arts of Elmira, and they got me started in the process of applying for a grant, which I eventually was awarded through ‘The Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.’ From there on, it has just grown and the book became another idea and it’s just still growing. I have yet to finish this project.”
“There could be more?” asked Dubina?
“There could be more, there will be more” Brown said.
A book launch and exhibition will be held Thursday October 26th from 6-8 p.m. at Meals on Wheels on 409 William Street. On Instagram, Brown said there will be a limited first edition of 40 copies available. People will also be able to place orders for future editions. You can also follow Downtown Gerry Brown’s Instagram for more updates. The book is being sold for $50. It contains 83 photographs.
You can watch the full interview with Downtown Gerry Brown below: