How does one capture the essence of New York City in a series of photographs, especially being a rare visitor? I fretted unnecessarily for weeks about how to shoot during our walk. What film, what camera and most challenging, what would I see. The film and camera were relatively easy decisions. I decided to shoot my Leica MP, take along my Rolleiflex and shoot Ilford HP5+. Black and white seems to suit New York.
That was the only pressure I felt on our trip to New York to attend the #NYCWLK film workshop and photowalk hosted by Johnny and Rebecca Patience and Bijan Sabet and generously sponsored by the Leica Store in Soho, Richard Photo Lab, Ona Bags, Lumu and Kodak Alaris.
What a great event. We were going to meet as a group of Twitter focused photographers. A collection of great friends, most of whom had never physically met one another. It was a bit surreal as I walked into the Leica store Soho early on September 12, 2015 and immediately recognized almost everyone in the room even though we’d never physically met. This is the power of social media and its ability to connect people no matter where we live. In this group, we all had at least one thing in common, a love of film. We are all film photographers.
The day started with a film workshop hosted by Johnny. What a great discussion we had about our approaches to exposing film and the importance of finding a lab that consistently exceeds expecations to get the best results every time. The workshop lasted from 10am to around 2pm after which we ventured out with a larger group for our walk beginning in Soho and ending in Brooklyn where we’d have dinner and drinks.
As someone who has only been to New York a few times, how can one prepare to photograph New York? Having never been in the areas we planned to walk through, I finally decided to let my eye be my guide. I’d shoot what caught my interest and hope for the best. As a result, my images really don’t have any central theme or story. They’re simply a reflection of what I saw in a few hours of walking with good friends.
I’m sure I missed many things that I might have normally shot had I not been so caught up in wonderful conversation getting to know the friends I normally only get to converse with in exchanges of 140 characters or less through our Twitter accounts.
Diana and I spent the entire weekend walking New York and taking lots of pictures. I came away with some decent images but more importantly I came away with tremendous memories and conversations with my great friends in our small but powerful film photography community. I’m grateful to be part of this group of fine people and am so looking forward to meeting again soon.