New York City

New York, New York

Waiting at West 4th (等待地铁)

I am submitting some of my NYC shots for a street photography exhibition at the South Street Seaport Museum this year. Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit up to 12 images. Selecting the shots was a difficult job. Almost all my New York street shots are well over a year old, and I hadn't looked at them in a while. Reviewing my own work was painful. I felt disappointed with a lot of my shots... many of them felt too much like snapshots that failed at telling stories or communicating something interesting about New York and city life.

Most of the photos I ended up with are from the subway. My hope is that they together manage to give some insight into what it feels like to be on (and under) the streets of New York.

Times Square Stop

Read on to see the entire submission.

On the B

Waiting and Reading at 34th Street

Conductor Portrait: Leaving Wall Street

Even the Mighty Must Wait

Conductor At Grand Central (列車長)

End of the Day

Conductor at 42nd

Midtown Lunch Crowd

Waiting on Charles Lane

End of the Night

9/11 Memorial

Flower at September 11 Memorial
1/400s, f/1.2, ISO 1250, 50mm

Last week, I made a brief visit to the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site. The design made me skeptical, mostly because it seemed too somber and not forward-looking enough. Designed by Michael Arad, the center piece of the memorial is a park with two square pools of falling water marking the footprints of the Twin Towers. The water in each pool flows into a square pit--a seemingly bottomless void. Large bronze plates surround the pools and carry the victims' names. The sound of the falling water is surprisingly loud and drowns out a good amount of the city noise.

Experiencing the memorial in person is truly moving. The scale, the darkness, and the roaring sound of the water invoke the destruction and the depth of the tragedy. It's a powerful combination that undoubtedly will lead most people to reflect on the event and what happened in its aftermath. Sadly, that's a depressing exercise, especially when watching night come on during a rigidly cold January afternoon. And it leads back to my concern that the memorial really doesn't look forward or communicate something hopeful about the future. I worry that the solemnness and scale will make it difficult for the memorial to integrate into the city and age well, and I wonder if more light and useable green space could have done a better job of balancing the past, present, and future.

In my photos, I have tried to provide as elegant a portrait of what are, despite the drawbacks, strikingly beautiful structures. Click on below the fold for two more shots, an iPhone panorama of the south pool, and a 360 degree view of the park made with Photosynth.

September 11 Memorial
1/400s, f/1.2, ISO 800, 50mm

Perspective on The National September 11 Memorial
1/640s, f/1.2, ISO 800, 50mm