Today, 9/23/2010, my morning was in tune with the city. I managed to take a couple photos that I have wanted to take for years. I wasn’t able to really plan how I wanted the contrast and exposure to be because I had to use a point and shoot. I just had to take the picture and deal with what I was able to get. Part of the reason that I had to settle is getting of the F train at 23rd Street in the morning is like exiting onto the Jackie Robinson during rush hour. There is no time for thinking because a packed train empties out onto the street every five minutes. I would like to see aerial video footage of it sped up 100x the normal speed, because it is an amazing mass of people. And it is something that you wouldn’t really understand unless you live in NYC (or any other dense urban city that has a decent public transportation system). I guess I’m a snob for saying that, but the experience of coming from Brooklyn and getting out across the street from Best Buy every day for the past 4 years means that I am very aware of the normal things that happen day to day. For example, today I noticed a guy lying on his side, right in front of the newspaper stand with a phone in is hand. This guy was basically falling asleep and acting like he was having a conversation with someone while he struggled to keep his balance…..on the south side of 21st Street on a Thursday afternoon. You see what I mean? That is obviously not something that happens every day.
On the uneventful days, you notice a lot of other things on your way to and from work that aren’t creepy and weird like guys passing out on the sidewalk at 2:37 pm. It may be that there is a movie being filmed on your block (like the new Wall Street movie) or that restaurant down the street that finally opened has people in it. The photograph is really more about documenting an experience. That is the way that I approach photography as an art. I approach it this way for a couple reasons, but the most important reason is that I went to school for architecture and photographing a site for a potential building design is one way that I really engage in my process of designing. Kanye West might hate this but architecture was my major and studio arts was my minor (concentration on photography). It doesn’t make me better than anyone, but it explains why I approach photography the way I do.
Only two times a year, the sun invades the 23rd Street train station staircase. Today, it just happened to also be the time of the year when it dawns on me that the sun is setting earlier than I want it to. When something like this happens, I feel more connected to the city. It becomes a familiar face in your neighborhood that you notice isn’t on his regular schedule. I noticed it a couple years ago and today, I was able to catch it.