Photographer Documents Gathering Place Project


Tuesday, September 4th 2018, 3:35 pm
By: Tess Maune


Long before crews broke ground on Gathering Place, work had already started to document the process. One man is making sure the history is shared for generations to come.

With each snap of the camera, photographer Shane Bevel is capturing a story and archiving history - in real time.

"It's documentation. It's reporting," said Shane Bevel, Gathering Place Archive Photographer.

"It's all pretty spectacular."

Bevel said Gathering Place is the Central Park or Golden Gate of Tulsa.

He is the official Gathering Place photographer -- a job he essentially created for himself in a conversation with the park's project manager.

"I said, 'Ya know, unsolicited advice,'" Bevel said. "You need to hire somebody - hire me, hire whoever, but hire someone to shoot pictures of that process."

And just like that - Shane was hired.

"It's been neat to watch it all come up out of the ground, yeah," he said.

And that's where the pictures started - a lot of shots of dirt and trees. Then it evolved - to hills, towers, tunnels, ponds and playgrounds.

But most importantly, Bevel took photographs of the people who helped haul every boulder and dig each hole that turned a vision into reality.

"I made a really pretty concerted effort a couple years ago to make sure that I get as many of those faces as I can," said Shane Bevelm Gathering Place Archive Photographer.

And beyond the faces, he gets to know the workers.

"I just have a curious personality. So a lot of times it's just fun for me to sit and talk to a guy while I make his picture," Shane said.

From the beginning, Shane thought about photos of workers in New York building the Empire State Building or Central Park. He knows the historical value of those pictures and the story they tell.

And he understands the history being made here at the Gathering Place is just as important.

"If you don't shoot that, then 25, 50, 75, 100, 150 years from now, you will have done a disservice to the people who are trying to continue to tell the story of the park and talk about how it was built, and who built and when it was built," he said.

He's taken nearly 50,000 pictures. More than 12,000 will go into the Gathering Place archive.

"All photographers document their communities and the history of their communities. I just got lucky enough to draw this assignment and get to document this huge piece, of what I think will be a huge piece, of Tulsa's history," Bevel said.

Shane doesn't have a favorite place in the park, but he does have a favorite moment.

"The thing I will remember the most is when my son and daughter played here for the first time," he said.

And as construction at Gathering Place wraps up, Shane's photography here is only just a beginning.

My kids are 5 and 2, so I will probably document this park for a very long time with them," he said.