What drew you to street photography initially? How did you get started with the genre?
As an introvert, I’ve always been quicker to listen than speak and that sort of carried over into my photography. I’m a naturally observant person so street photography just really happened accidentally after I started carrying a camera with me everywhere. I’m drawn to organic, candid moments that usually go unnoticed. It’s exciting because you never know what to expect when you’re out shooting, it’s a new experience each time.
Are you a native New Yorker? Where are your favorite places to shoot in NYC and why?
Yes, I’m a native New Yorker born and raised in the Bronx, NY. It’s such a great place to live, especially as a photographer, because with so many cultures you can take a train ride and feel like you’re visiting another country.
Chinatown is one of my favorite places to shoot because there’s always so much going on from street and fish market vendors to families just out and about. It’s such a vibrant and colorful place. It’s a pretty popular destination among photographers so it’s always fun adding my own unique perspective.
There’s a quote in your bio “Photograph the world you wish to see.” followed by this comment, “I love how [street photography] allows you to immortalize moments that might otherwise go unnoticed and construct your own narrative.” How do you do that specifically? Take a moment that isn’t yours, a moment in which your only role is observer, and construct your own narrative?
Deciding on what camera settings to use, framing and timing a shot is what allows me to construct my own narrative. For instance, there may be group of four friends talking but I might frame the shot to focus in on one of them and wait until he has a contemplative expression before I press the shutter. Although he’s with friends, in my version of the story he’s actually sitting by himself in thought.
I love your urban landscapes collection. Bob wrote in an article recently, “I’ve come to realize that street photos “without people” are still “about people” because instead of “photographing man” we’re photographing “the effects of man” or the things we leave behind. In a sense we’re recording the “Footprints of Man.”” What’s your take on urban landscape images? What are they about to you?
Thank you, and that’s such a great point. It reminds me of a Winston Churchill quote, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Though there normally aren’t people included in my urban landscape collection these photos still incorporate people. Aside from people creating these buildings, street signs, vehicles and bridges these are all things society benefits from and needs. To me, urban landscape images aren’t just about documenting and record keeping it’s about a direct relationship between people and their environment.
It seems to me you have a variety of post processing techniques. Some of your images are brightly colored, some are more muted, some of your black and whites have a strong noir feel, while others are more “moonscape” style. How do you determine how to edit a photo? Also, a collection of photos with varying color styles and schemes can be tough to pull off, but your “Moments in Street” gallery does it wonderfully. How do you make sure the images you choose for a portfolio flow and work together?
Funny enough this is a constant struggle of mine. I always have the desire to develop a cohesive post processing style but haven’t mastered that yet – my approach is generally based on how I’m feeling at the moment I’m editing. I normally wait a few days between shooting and editing so that I’m seeing my photos with fresh eyes.
Though the images in my “Moments in Street” gallery are edited differently, I felt they all had a similar theme of being in search of something and hoped that common subject would help thread the photos together.
Do you have a process to curate your images, to decide which ones will make the cut to be on your website?
This is such a hard process! I think any artist struggles with what to showcase and what to keep to themselves. Knowing that there’s such a short window of opportunity to get someone’s attention really forces me to stick to a process of curating my photos. I’ll make my selects and go back to them in a week. If I’m still drawn to one of the photos I selected, it stays but if not then it gets deleted. Then I’ll usually show the photo to a few people and depending on their feedback it makes the final cut.
What has street photography taught you?
Street photography has taught me patience. There are many times I’m out with my camera and see a scene that looks interesting but it’s missing something. Sometimes you just have to wait around until something or someone comes by to complete the scene making it more worthwhile to capture.