I’ll be honest with you – I arrived on my holiday to NYC already exhausted. It’d been a busy year (tiny sidenote: I’m so tired of people saying they’re busy. I’m so tired of hearing myself say that I’m busy. We’re all busy. It’s not a badge of honour, no one person’s ‘busy-ness’ is more important than another, and it’s definitely something I know I want to work on in 2017. Right, tiny rant over). Long story short – the ‘busy-ness’ was getting me down, and something had to give.
I was feeling a little bit disenchanted with my work and the way I see the world. I was feeling restless. I was wondering about a lot things. I was in need of a reset. To be around good friends, to travel for the love of it, and more than anything, to not take any photographs unless I really, really felt like it.
Well, it turns out that’s not a compulsion that’s easily switched off.
So instead of settling back and taking the same images I felt I was always taking, I set myself a few challenges:
- Shoot mainly with my iPhone 7+.
- Take the DSLR out for a spin only if I feel like it, but then only with the 35mm lens (because I’m way too comfortable at 50mm).
- Get back to my pre-digital roots and try and see things (mostly) in black and white again.
- Open my eyes and pay attention to things I don’t normally look at.
But above all, shoot only if I feel like it. Just for me.
And I can’t tell you how liberating that was. I’m not claiming that any of these photos are works of art. I’m definitely not claiming that shooting New York City in (mostly) black and white is something new and groundbreaking – we all know it’s not. But what it was, was a chance to open my eyes again and feel inspired and challenged. And wouldn’t you know it – it worked.
This post is more of a personal photo journal – I may or may not have captions to write here, I may or may not explain where I was or what I was seeing. But the exciting thing to me was that I was still seeing…
I’m not going to pretend that this trip answered all those aforementioned questions. Truth be told, it actually landed me with a load more of them – it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. But that’s the way it goes. And above all else, I was able to spend some time in a city I love with some people I love, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful.
So what did I actually do? For someone who went to NYC without making one single plan, it’s amazing how much we actually did…
My friend Sera and I went to Sleep No More (my second time, her first). It was such a completely different experience from my first time, and we had so much to talk about after it whilst eating dinner that we decided to go right back in and do it again – that same night. I got kidnapped 3 times, had the most incredible experiences, and we couldn’t stop talking about it for the rest of the week…
I made good on my promise to myself to finally get to the new Whitney, and the Guggenheim – two places that I’d never quite managed to get to on previous visits. The Guggenheim delivered just by being it’s beautiful curvaceous self, and the Dreamscapes exhibit at the Whitney injected some very much needed colour into some grey days.
We ate a lot of ramen. This is not a bad thing.
I found a little slice of quietude in the middle of Times Square at my hotel, The Time NYC. Whodathunk that would be possible? Waking up with the morning light high above the water towers was a much-needed respite.
I walked. And walked and walked and walked. I drank a lot of coffee.
I marched alongside friends in protest.
I sat with friends as they cried.
And I spent my last morning walking across the Brooklyn Bridge in the blazing sunshine, Mose Allison playing on my headphones in tribute, and a big stupid grin on my face.
I have a whole bunch of images from the protest that I’ll share soon. Meanwhile though, here’s the rest of that mad crazy beautiful city.