Monday, March 4, 2013

New York Grit

There are many beautiful places and people to photograph in New York. It's easy to be drawn to them, they're seductive. I too have succumbed. It's almost too easy to get a good shot of an attractive scene or person. The grit of the city, however, is another story. Quite a few photographers who want to take a risk at doing street are drawn to the homeless that populate every neighborhood, and are overabundant in the midtown area, where the pickings are plentiful. It's grit, and there's a story there, but the homeless are such a vulnerable and easy target, and they've been over exploited in photographs of the street.

It's much more difficult to capture that atmosphere of grit with people who are mobile, coherent, and/or not desperately seeking to scratch out a few pennies to feed either their bellies or their habit. It takes practice and speed to get the shots well exposed, well focused, and well composed. And it takes a keen eye and a sensitive gut to recognize the moment and the feeling that will make a dynamic image.

This afternoon I took a walk down Broadway and Eighth avenue to Penn Station. The neighborhood adjacent to the theater district in Manhattan is called Hell's Kitchen. It's been upgraded considerably over the past twenty years with new apartment buildings and shops, but before that it was home to a seedy population of drug addicts and prostitutes. There's still an edge to the neighborhood these days, and the people are picturesque.



Captain Hook's sister?


Two worlds that will never meet