My project explores how people are feeling on the streets of NYC, post-presidential election 2016. It is a body of 15 portraits with a quote from each subject. It explores the human condition and how we are able to adapt, show strength, unite and overcome situations life throws at us.
My inspiration for this project comes from being a non-US citizen. Since I do not have the right to vote, this silenced my input into the conversation. The way I could express myself was through the familiar medium of making photographs. I quickly realized that people all around me felt the same way, particularly American citizens who were entitled to vote. This project has nothing to do with the actual result of the presidential election. It is not pro- or anti-Trump, in any way.
I shot this body of work over several days spanning a two-week period. The biggest obstacle, as with all street photography, was approaching our subjects. I was pleasantly surprised how positive and happy people were to participate.
I wanted this project should feel as ‘human’ and ‘organic’ as possible. Modern digital capture formats do not work because they are too clean and there is no uniqueness to each image. I thought about film and knew for sure this was the way to go. Each film frame has a unique grain pattern never to be repeated again, and each subject is a unique person with an important organic message. The combination of grain, film and subject was a perfect match.
I wanted to unite people within the photographs to show that we have a lot in common. I also wanted it to be about my subjects and not about their environment. I created a heavy stylized, black and white look with strong flash to give stylistic continuity to the project. This makes the subjects ‘pop’ as if coming out of the dark.
Modern film and film cameras are way too clean so I used Eastman Double X film (5222) and a point and shoot from the 1980s. Eastman Double X is a 35mm motion film stock made by Kodak and the formula hasn’t changed since 1959. It has a gritty feel compared to modern Tri-X. Now every image has a unique identifying factor but also a strong uniting factor. The inferior optics of the camera also helped create this look.
One of the underlying themes of this collection is not being alone in your struggles, no matter how isolated you feel. This B&W look I have created has helped unite the subjects and the viewer, I am very happy that the technicality of these images compliments the emotional content of the story.