There is no "capturing" New York City. Just when you think you've photographed each juxtaposing facet - wealthy and destitute, historic and modern, stoic and vivacious - you realize you've only documented the city from one lens, one perspective, and it would take years to delve into each borough with each of its own microcosms of cultures. So, on my 2 trips to NYC earlier this year (where I stayed mostly in Brooklyn and Manhattan), I didn't set out to try to capture the heart of the city. Instead, I wanted to document my own experience of it. This meant not going out of my way for a photo, rather clicking the shutter just whenever I saw something I personally found interesting.
For our trip in February, we brought 17 rolls of film between the two of us (and shot all of them!), so I tested a variety of color and black & white films to see if I had a favorite to use for future reference. Naturally, I didn't. I love how the city's architecture (especially the Art Deco edifices) looks on black and white, like it could be from any decade if you ignored some anachronisms. But New York City in color shows off not only the lights it's known for, but the beautiful variety of skin tones. For my solo trip in April I was mostly there for digital portrait sessions, so I only had a few hours to explore with my film camera in hand, but I put that AGFA Vista 400 to use.
Of the cities I've photographed on film, this portfolio is my favorite, foremost because of its variety of subject matter, colors and techniques. Perhaps I must attribute the variety to the city itself, in large part that would be true. However, because it's so easy to get lost in the sea of people, I was much braver in whipping out my camera whenever I felt inspired, not self-conscious about stopping in the middle of the street or photographing some random stranger 3 feet in front of me. I'm hoping to carry that same energy with me wherever I practice my street photography, creating more portraits and telling more stories. And, of course, wherever I go I will always photograph my pizza.
All of the images in this post are for sale as original prints as well as digital copies through this gallery: NYC Film prints.
Arista Premium 400
JCH Street Pan 400
Rollei Retro 400
AGFA Vista 400