This past spring break, I escaped the boring clutter of everyday life, and went to New York for a breath of fresh photographic air. This is how I see NYC, a place where the true photographic magic happens on the streets.
The hardest thing to overcome when trying to get inspired is your familiarity with your surroundings. So instead of being a creative photographer and overcoming that, I decided to get on a plane and go for a long walk in New York City.
I’ve been to NYC before, so I really wanted to avoid having a touristy trip. I wanted to breath in NYC. I wanted to go for coffee, read the paper, and walk around, as I would if I lived there. So that’s what I did. I walked for long hours every day and enjoyed the true beauty of the city, the streets.
New York lives in the street. People are always on a mission, going from place to place. It is easy to tell a tourist from a local, and if it wasn’t for my army of cameras, I completely blended in.
Mamiya 645 1000s
And (don’t be too disappointed lomo friends) Nikon d90
EVERYONE has to visit New York at least once, but most importantly, everyone needs to see it, truly see it. No Empire State Building, no Statue of Liberty. Just the streets, ok maybe, the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square are must sees, but see it from a different point of view. Analyze it, understand it, and then photograph it.
The best tip I can give you is to bring a film camera. YES, it sounds obvious for us, but there is a reality with society today, and it’s that film doesn’t come across as invasive as digital does. What I mean is that with a little lomo friend, you can get much better street style, natural candid shots, than what you can get with a DSLR. People cannot see a Diana, Holga, LC-A or any of our plastic friends as a threat, instead, if anything, it is a curiosity. After 5 days of shooting in New York, my best shots were captured in film. All my digital files lacked that street-smart feel to it (that bresson/eisenstaedt feel).
Must-sees in NYC for a photographer:
Lomography Store and Gallery NYC
ICP: the International Centre of Photography
When I was there, an exhibition called “the Mexican Suitcase” was on display, featuring the work created by Robert Capa (and others) during the Spanish Civil War (analog heaven).
The Leica Gallery
670 Broadway / Suite 500
Located in the heart of SOHO.
Aperture Foundation Gallery
The New York Times building
Why? So you can hang out and hope to see (or be seen by) the fantastic, mindblowing photographer Bill Cuninham. This incredibly talented 80-year-old man has been shooting with his Nikon film body on his bike, on the streets of New York for the past few decades. If you want to know more about him, this is a MUST-SEE film: http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/billcunninghamnewyork
Most Photographic Spots:
Roosevelt Island (best-kept secret)
Lower East Side
and of course, Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park
OK, enough talking. After all, I was just a tourist…what do I know?!