I began studying photography in 2015 after years as a fine art painter. Schooled in the essential elements of painting -- color, light and composition -- it was not a difficult transition. Whether inside the studio or out, the artistic tool box was the same.
As a native New Yorker, the genre of street photography was a natural fit.I had always been captivated by the hum and buzz of the street; the energy of unremitting commerce; the mash-up of peoples and cultures. With a camera in place of a paint brush, I wanted to capture the serendipity, loneliness, beauty and wackiness of urban life.
What better subject than New York City for the passionate street photographer? Great artists like Helen Levitt, Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz and others have enthralled us with quotidian human stories that brilliantly distilled the soul of the city. In varied realms and locales, they documented the essence of life on the streets in their time.
And while I am an acolyte seeking to follow in their footsteps, I recognize that New York, under unrelenting pressures of gentrification and homogenization, is altered. It is not the city of the masters who mined the grit of the streets, the vibrant ethnic enclaves, the unvarnished authenticities of an analog age.
The world those masters chronicled has come and gone.
And yet, the city’s magnetic pull endures. Though the crowds and the neighborhoods may look different, I remain drawn to them, camera in hand.
My time is here and now.
Still to be mined are today’s human stories, dramas large and small, unfolding in the public sphere. As a walker, a flâneuse, I pursue these stories. Not from a comfortable, safe distance, but close enough to feel the story.
See the lone, contemplative, Times Square diner customer behind the plate-glass window; the goosebumps on the Coney Island Polar Bear queen; the outsized bonnet of a flamboyantly-costumed Easter Parade marcher; the emphatic outstretched finger of a Diamond District denizen.
The shutter clicks and reveals the drama of the urban stage.
Years from now these images will be the New York City that will have come and gone. But then others will be drawn to photograph their here and now.