|Children throwing rose petals at the Figment Festival on Governor’s Island|
|Brooklyn Bridge at Night|
how long have you been taking photos?
my to use his gear when I was a child, so I’ve been taking photos for about 30
years, only more seriously for the last decade.
lately, but I have a few film cameras and I sometimes use the digital to shoot
TTV (through the viewfinder) shots with an old twin-lens reflex. I don’t use a smart
phone, so I cannot benefit from Instagram like everyone else; TTV shots offer the same square trim size and
“antique” filter effect.
subjects that I pursue regularly: street art, anonymous written
communications between New Yorkers that I blog, and odd things that are disappearing quickly like public telephones, street memorials, gumball machines, and found objects
and collections. I also shoot a lot of portraits.
|Graffiti in the East Village|
once in broad daylight while scores of people were walking by. I never
publish those images, however.
photographed in the street because cameras are everywhere. I rarely encounter
any problems. In most cases I will ask before I shoot someone’s portrait. Most
people are obliging. In cases when they’re not, I respectfully move on.
other. Both force you to look at the big picture and the little details. I
found that being a decent photographer has helped me secure more
writing work and a steadier income.
fish-eye lens “cheat” because it’s just a glass adapter that offers a
fish-eye distortion, not an actual fish-eye lens. Usually, I only use
it to shoot the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, though.
if they’re interested?
where I will hopefully have information about selling my images. If
someone is genuinely interested in a print, they can contact me
directly via Flickr or Facebook.
are you most proud of?
majestic architecture, some of it the result of private Gilded Age
contributions that gave New Yorkers some of the city’s most prized
institutions, such as the NYPL (New York Public Library) and the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Those places give me hope that
compassion and security for all can still be the foundation of our Democracy,
even in light of our growing economic divide. Whenever I’m feeling awful, all I
have to do is walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or spend the afternoon in the Rose
Reading Room for inspiration.
What other NYC photographers do you admire
and do you learn from?
Helen Levitt, Garry Winogrand, Diane Arbus, Peter Hujar, and lesser known
artists like Vivian Maier, all of whom have shot extensively in New York. And I
adore Bill Cunningham, the New York Times photographer, and more transgressive contemporary
artists like Nan Goldin and Lucas Samaras.
seen the city change and grow. What can you say is the one thing that hasn’t
changed about New York?
luxurious or gentrified the neighborhoods become, there are some aspects of city life
that will never change, like dealing with pests and
vermin, which I find comforting to some degree because it’s a baseline
that every New Yorker shares. Every New Yorker has a rat or
roach story and they’re
long you’ve been here by your speed and ability to kill both.
|11 Spring Street, NoLIta before the building went condo|
Favorite New York moment?
after running into her on the street. It was perfect because I
respected her privacy and she appreciated the moment as much as I did.
Years later, she signed my first edition of Metropolitan Life,
which I treasure. I have been very fortunate to have met many, many
accomplished New Yorkers in my time here, and those meetings, whether by chance
or planned, make up my favorite memories.
every day in New York and yet never get bored with it?
taking it all in, especially to an outer borough neighborhood
where I’ve never been. It’s the little discoveries that make New York
special. It’s never boring. I mean, if you’re bored here, it’s
really a personal problem. It’s impossible to remain unaffected by the
energy of the street.
Digital photography is wonderful in that it made
the medium so autonomous. Even when I’m broke (and I’m often
broke) I always have my camera. There are always images to record.
|Dogs playing at Washington Square Park|
considering a move?
on television or in films. And New Yorkers often have three or four
simultaneous careers. You need more than a plan B here; you need moxie,
strength, and courage to have staying power. Networking is everything.
risks. Learn your strengths and weaknesses (and how to maximize or minimize them
to your advantage) before you get here. Know that, unlike many gated suburban
communities, New York is based in real community. To insulate yourself from the
chance to be a part of that is to not experience the true wealth of New York,
which are its people and diversity. On a lighter note, sell your car before you
get here and know that it is totally possible to furnish your apartment with
something better, so don’t ignore opportunities that at the time seem small.
When New York smiles upon you, it often pays off big, but when the chips are
down, this city can also kick you in the teeth. This isn’t a place for the
timid. You have to really want to be here, it’s such a physical place. The city
can be downright unwelcoming and cold, but New Yorkers have the greatest
hearts; they impress me daily. New Yorkers pull together – we have each other’s
|Two people kissing on East 9th Street|
|Mural at Mars Bar in the Village–now closed|