You know when you get inspired by a city, a movie, a song?
Well...New York city and Woody Allen geniality are a great inspiration to me and to my work.
In my humble opinion, there is no mind that can read so well that city as Woody’s (as well as the psyche of people, the most complex thing in the universe).
With that said, I thought writing a bit about this city that is unique and fantastic (only met one person in my life that hated NY). Ops! She said to me the city was awfully dirty, full of impolite people, noisy, bla, bla, bla. Yeah, so what? This is NEW YORK! One of the most cultural, vibrating, entertaining, exciting and most photogenic cities of the world!! Who cares if it is chaotic? The city is amazingly beautiful, specially in winter and fall, and if a person can not see the beauty of it, I doubt she can see at all!
If you don’t like NY either, well, maybe you should skip this article and ignore my sarcasm (or maybe you could admire the pictures?) ...
I still remember my first time in NY. I was in Miami before, it was January and it was hot, no matter it was January and winter, Miami was hot. Miami is much like Brazil. The heat won’t leave you alone no matter what time of the year. If you love it, embrace MIA, there is the place for you, if you don’t, then head further. And that was what I did. I went to NY.
I landed in Newark, but I remember when finally I entered New York city, I startled. Not only I felt I was literally within a movie, but I actually was there, in the city where many people try to reach out theirs dreams everyday, plus, the most famous city is also the most influential city of the world.
The city that never sleeps never disappoints.
If you ever saw my website or have read one of my articles, you know I am addicted to black and white photography. Black is my color. But as we are talking about NY, I decided to make an exception and publish in this article some colorful photos that I also think that fits the atmosphere of the city.
For my luck, the NY I met was freezing and rainy, and that added the perfect atmosphere for my photos. So here it goes a few tips that drew my attention, not necessarily touristic ones, but more like as a fine art photographer point of view.
Architecture is one of my favorite subjects. I am a passionate by Bauhaus, design and how architecture changes the way we see things, not only culturally, but also as a way of living better. May that be in a simple way or with lots of sophistication. New York architecture is diverse. The old and the new mixed as a perfect match allure us in the most hypnotic way. Bridges, financial headquarters, skyscrapers, glass walls, classic spaces, museums, minimalism style, Gothic spires, brick facades, etc. All that spread all over the city. Modern beauties such as the dashing Guggenheim, MoMA, Rockefeller apartments and the new One World Trade Center. Take your pick and go throughout the city shooting. New York is a dream for every architecture photographer. Millions of ideas condensed in one place. If you like architecture, you can read about it here. Plus, I have a new article with N-Photo magazine just about it, don’t miss it!
Connecting the districts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge is not only an iconic mark of the city, but also one of the most ancient bridges in United States. No matter where you are in the city, the bridge can bring you the most different shots from the most different angles. From the Brooklyn side, you have the amazing Manhattan skyline, postcard of the city and atmosphere of so many movies. Not sure if it is a haunted bridge in NY, but the fact is more than 27 people died on its construction. The bridge was projected by John Augustus Roebling, a German civil engineer who was famous for projecting wire rope suspension bridges. Its launch was in 1883 and since then, the bridge not only brings joyful memories to tourists and New Yorkers, but also help people crossing it 24/7.
When my New York photos were published in N-Photo Magazine (Nikon) for the first time, one of the chosen ones was precisely a Chinatown photo. Asia for me is fascinating. In Brazil I live 10 min walking from the biggest Japanese community outside Japan. So when I went to Chinatown I was literally mesmerized. Entering in Chinatown is like stepping into another world. The sounds, the smell, the people, the language, the Chinese signs, the culture. Yes, New York bares it all. If you have the chance, spend some time there. Chinatown is visually a dream for photographers and culture eagers.
Yes, well, Manhattan. What about it? The true is, Manhattan fucking rocks. Yes! When I think about Manhattan, obviously I think about Woody's movies, but I also remember the amazing 6 seasons of Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw and her friends brought to us some of the best 90s moments! The streets, the shops, the coffees places to hang out, the skyline, Central Park, the taxis, the bars, the drinks, the shoes, the glamour, Mr. Big! The mix of people that Manhattan bares is fantastic. I love it. The energy, the rush, the chaos, the rain, the steam everywhere is real! And well, New York has a unique feeling that only if you has ever been there you will understand. I was not aware of that feeling before stepping my feet on it. I prepared here a list of some movies that I feel totally connected, and of course, sets in NYC.
This is a not a list of the BEST movies ever, just a a very particular one and I like very much of each one of these movies and some I have seen more than 10 times, maybe more. Just dig in.
When I was in New York I had no idea that my photos from the city would propagate that much. They already have been in exhibition in Paris, Bologna and also in magazines, such as N-Photo (Nikon). Meaning, New York is one of my most appreciated works and for that I am very pleased. Not only I adore the city, but also I had great personal and professional times there! And you will see that most of my work is completely focused on people in the streets. That is not only my main theme in my photography but also you can notice the everyday life situations developed into beautiful and poetic fine art photography. Some of it is meant to be ethereal and aesthetically dramatic. Everywhere in NY is a ready framed photo waiting for you to shoot it. And even in a city like that, pumping with so many people, I like to capture individuals who seems to be alone among so many others. What crosses their minds? Does it gets lonely? Do people like it? How do they feel? I know most of people don’t feel like the way I do, as, the more distant from people, the more I get to be in peace. But that is just me. This is something I learned across my experience and today that is how I like it. So for me, maybe these shots are from people that somehow feel the same way I do, or at least, this is how I see these dramatic moments. Rainy scenes lost in time. People unaware of moments I stole from them. Stolen moments from private lives. People that will never be aware of my time with them. But they will be forever present in my work. People that are locked somehow in a framed time of my life.
Subway mix 3 things that I love to add in my photography: movement, people and architecture. And New York flourish with all of them. To be in a subway in a rush hour or in a empty zone is delightful for my lens. The atmosphere can turn from chaotic to exceptionally quiet. Subways reminds me a bit of the same vibe as airports do. That amount of people coming from nowhere and going to everywhere is hallucinating. So much energy at the same time can be translated into the most exciting images. Just the fact that you are in NYC, in the rush hour, is if you are already part of a movie.
The most famous spot in New York is also the most unnerving one. Any place that has that amount of tourists is unnerving. BUT, that amount of people is fantastic to shoot. I mean, I sea of people, stress, taxis, lights, neon, giant propaganda panels, chaos everywhere. Plus, it is not a common square, it is Times Square. It is perfect in its chaos. I love that. And if I can add rain, winter, night, all at once, than my work will bloom!
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, one of my favorites Woody’s lines:
He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion...no, make that: he - he romanticized it all out of proportion. Yeah. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.'
Uh, no let me start this over.
He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic. To him, New York meant beautiful women and street-smart guys who seemed to know all the angles...'.
Ah, corny, too corny for my taste. Can we ... can we try and make it more profound?
He adored New York City. For him, it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. The same lack of individual integrity that caused so many people to take the easy way out was rapidly turning the town of his dreams in...'
No, that's going to be too preachy. I mean, you know, let's face it, I want to sell some books here.
He adored New York City, although to him it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. How hard it was to exist in a society desensitized by drugs, loud music, television, crime, garbage...'
Too angry, I don't want to be angry.
He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat.'
I love this.
'New York was his town, and it always would be.”
― Woody Allen, Manhattan