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My recent trip to New York City was plagued with bad weather and difficult traveling conditions. During my first day traversing the city, I spent an hour or so in Times Square trying to get a few memorable shots but the snow was making it impossible to keep my equipment dry. There I was at the epicenter of one of the world�s largest cities, fumbling with a tripod and constantly wiping the moisture off my fish-eye lens. Even though the area is a huge tourist trap, I remember thinking that I must look like a �fish out of water,� especially because I was shooting straight up into the cloud-covered sky. Despite my own self-perceptions, I must have looked like I knew what I was doing because I was constantly approached by people who who eager to hand over their cameras and ask if I could take a picture of them.
As the snow continued to fall, I came to the conclusion that my time in Times Square might be a lost cause. Each time I reviewed my photos, I immediately noticed the water droplet imperfections in the images. Annoyed, I packed up my gear and headed into the subway on the far end of the square. I waited about fifteen minutes and boarded the first available train bound for central park. As I did so many times during my trip, I read the subway map wrong and when I came back above ground, I was on the opposite end of the square. I could literally see the station that I had just entered. I immediately laughed out loud at my own folly. I was turning around to go back into the subway when I noticed a break in the clouds a few blocks away from the center of Times Square. I observed the break for a few moments and then came to the realization that it was going to travel directly over the tourist trap. Encouraged, I found a spot in the middle of the street and shot a few more photos, trying to take advantage of the rare blue sky. This photo is from that second attempt. Ten minutes later, the clearing passed and snow resumed.
I went to NYC with the intentions of capturing some gritty images of the city that the standard tourist wouldn�t experience. I wanted to stay away from the tourist spots and get a real raw perspective of New York. Unfortunately, the weather prevented me from plunging too deeply into the vast metropolis and I found myself in many of those �touristy� locations that I wanted to avoid, including Times Square. That said, I still feel that I was able to capture some unique imagery. If nothing else, I finally learned how to navigate the subways and I managed to tackle my fear of trekking throughout the city alone.
As I�ve stated in a previous blog post, I�m not a fan of traditionalism. I enjoy edginess and people�s reaction to it. However, there is something to be said for classicism. If you can go into �saturated situation� and produce something inherently different, traditionalism morphs into artistry. I�m sure this image isn�t stunningly unique, but it represents my unique visit to NYC. I think there are certain situations in life where it is important to put yourself in a position where so many others have been before. It provides navigational bearing and social understanding. The real trick is to walk away from those situations carrying something that no one else has, whether it�s a life lesson, a better self-understanding, a greater appreciation or in this case, a photograph. Life is simply a chain of individual moments, some of which are more meaningful than others. That said, this image will forever remind me of that trip and the experiences that it produced.
March 15th, 2010
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