I subtitled this blog “Where Landscape Meets the Street” for several reasons. Among them, it chronicles my evolution as a photographer. My experience as a landscape photographer has taught me skills that I find myself, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously, bringing to my street photography. One of those skills, if I can call it that, is patience. I think of street photography as very much of the moment. It is fast-paced. It is impulsive. Get the shot now or it is forever lost. Landscape photography, on the other hand, requires patience. It is reflective. It is introspective. It’s contemplative. Instead of being of the moment it is more of a waiting for the moment… waiting for everything to come together for the perfect shot. If it doesn’t all come together today, we return tomorrow in hopes of having it come together then.
The three photographs below were all made during yesterday’s New York City walkabout which took me from Port Authority Bus Terminal through Chelsea, along the High Line, into the Meatpacking District, the West Village, Greenwich Village, East Village and Alphabet City before returning through Union Square and the Flatiron District and back to the bus terminal. For those of you interested in my photo walks/workshops, this should give you an example of the ground covered in a typical walk.
I entitled this post “Worth Waiting For” because these three photographs, which all just happened to be made yesterday, are images that I have thought about for quite some time but never came together until yesterday. I’ve been patient. I’ve known they would. It was just a matter of when.
The first photo is from right in Port Authority Bus Terminal. If you have every been there, you have probably seen George Segal’s sculpture – “The Commuters”… three people standing in line at a gate. I have often wished to catch a photograph of a fourth person seemingly joining the line. I have occasionally seen folks staging such photos for the folks back home but I have never caught the right combination of compositional elements until yesterday. I turned and there, standing right behind the three commuters was a young woman who just seemed to join the queue. She was so oblivious to what was going on that I was able to move around her and get the shots I wanted from several different angles. This is one that I particularly like.
“The Commuters… Plus One”
Another one of favorite haunts is Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. It is a wonderful place to just watch people being people. It is home to some fantastic buskers like Colin Huggins, the “Crazy Piano Guy” who can seemingly always be seen playing his piano in the park. And yes, he was there yesterday, his birthday, playing in 30 degree temperatures. But this isn’t about Colin, it is about another regular in the park. I see this fella there every time I stop by. He seems to live there, figuratively if not literally. He loves animals. I have seen him on the ground playing with dogs that are being walked in the park. I have seen him feeding and talking to squirrels and birds. I have even seen him talk to other people on occasion. He seems to have good days and he seems to have bad days. It is best to stay clear of him on the bad days. But good days or bad, I have never been able to get the candid portrait of him that I wanted. Until yesterday. His attention was totally wrapped up in a red-tailed hawk perched on a low post in the park. He was talking to “Rosie” (the hawk) and telling passers-by about Rosie. He looked so comfortable, so at ease. I was able to stand near him and watch the hawk… and get a few shots of the this fella to boot.
“The Washington Square Regular”
The third image worth waiting for only took a wait of several minutes. I have written previously about photographing self-portraits that are reflections in mirrors, windows, puddles, etc. Well I finally got the chance to stop by the store front studio of East Village Radio, an internet radio station that I listen to on occasion. I had no idea of what the studio looked like other than it was in a storefront overlooking 1st Avenue in the East Village. When I got there and saw the studio through the large window, I almost immediately knew the shot I wanted to make. I just need to wait for the players to naturally fall into position. And after a few minutes they did. The two on-air DJs move to the right to look over some logs. I slid in on the left so that my reflection put me behind the boom microphone for East Village radio and snap… I became the newest EVR DJ.
“Eddie V on the Air”
All images were made with the Ricoh GRD IV and processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.
So that’s it for now. Fast-paced, impulsive street photography to follow but these are examples of the more patient, contemplative street photography that I also do.
Have a wonderful day full of wonder!