Given how ingrained certain locations are in the popular photographic consciousness due to heavy presentation in a particular style by multiple photographers – Paris and NYC in black and white of course come to mind – I think it’s possible to do one of two things: either avoid that style altogether and try to find your own, or explore a little in the genre and see what falls out. I had a chance to try both the last time I was in New York; to be honest, I found B&W with moderate contrast to suit the timeless feel of the location a bit better – as opposed to expressing the fleetingly temporal nature of life. There’s of course no right or wrong. (My attempt at individual style can be found here, in the NYC cinematics photoessay.)
Perhaps it’s because the monochromes use the strongly regular urban geometry – NYC is one of the few large environments that comes across as being completely manmade; there is little nature to be had outside a few designated zones, and even these look regimentally regular – the hard-edged rectangle of Central Park, for instance. Yet there’s still a riot of color designed to get the attention of those who live there; if you want to make an individual or cluster of individuals stand out against the whole, it’s tough. I feel that removing color rebalances the visual weight in favor of the subject, and of course emphasizes the quality of light. In any case, enough babbling from me, and time for more images. I’ve split this photoessay into two parts due to its length. This series was shot with a variety of gear, but mostly the Coolpix A. MT
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