Monday, February 25, 2013

SoHo Streets

On Sunday I spent some time in the SoHo district of Manhattan. Quite a few yeas ago it was a very old, run down neighborhood of cobblestone streets and warehouses - ideal for artists who needed large spaces at relatively cheap rent for lofts. The pattern for these neighborhoods in New York is that the artists move in because of the cheap rents and open spaces, then stores and restaurants open to service the artistic community. This then attracts attention of more upscale people who want to 'slum' for a few hours and dip their toes into the esoteric opportunities to shop and eat at those establishments. Then come the galleries that display the work of the local artists, and on their heels come the real estate developers who renovate the property, increase the rents - which drives the poor artists out of the neighborhood - and attract trendy stores which draw the crowds of 'cool' shoppers.  The artists are long gone to other neighborhoods where process starts all over again - to wit: Chelsea, Tribeca, Williamsburg, and now the Lower East Side.

For me, as a street photographer, it's a gold mine for characters and attitudes. On any given weekend afternoon there are many street vendors of books, scarves, jewelry, sunglasses, etc. And there are a number of musical groups who perform for the 'hip' strollers. I'm usually drawn to the groups because I like to photograph performers, but this Sunday I tried something a little different. I found a doo-wop group called Spank (I've posted images of them here in the past) on Spring Street, but rather than photograph the performers, I turned my attention to the audience to capture their reaction to the music. That's a more difficult subject to show with context and a story, but an interesting challenge. The performers are very close to the listeners and interact with them - especially when a pretty woman walks by.

There she was just-a walkin' down the street
Singin' 'Do wah ditty ditty dum ditty do'

Listen to it here. It ain't rap!

And then there's this, yeah 'She's MY girl!'

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