Julia, a video editor, sloth lover, and gracious stranger. Shot Wednesday, May 11, 2016, NYC.
This is the first of a series of posts for the street portrait project, typically impromptu shoots featuring the faces and stories of friends, neighbors and strangers. Contact me if you'd like to be featured, and I invite you to view and follow for the full collection here: https://www.instagram.com/streetportraitproject/.
Emilia is a stranger and fellow photographer who appeared to have just finished a run. We had just exited a street fair and were waiting to cross the avenue when she asked me about my camera. Emilia says she finds peace from her 14-hour shifts and city life through a meditation group she discovered called Buddhist Sangha.
Now this was serendipitous because the park was brimming today with practitioners of Falun Gong. My dog walk was interrupted by one member who asked if I meditated. I answered no, but my dog does. The problem is he's easily distracted. His favorite distraction is the sound of fire engine sirens, which cause him to howl uncontrollably like a wolf baying at the moon. Naturally, this happened a moment later, which surely amused the FG. Right?
Stories collide: perfect.
Emilia chose this pose, shot Saturday, May 14, 2016, NYC.
Bhavin, a purveyor of wine and spirits, stands outside of his family-run shop on Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side, NYC. Shot Thursday, May 12, 2016.
Bhavin is a cigar connoisseur, whiskey buff (particularly of single malt scotch), and a dog lover who you can always count on for a friendly greeting and bit of conversation when he's not busy tending to the needs of other customers.
The shop is dog-friendly by the way, so both you and your four-legged beast will find treats that will suit your fancy.
Heather is jazz vocalist who plays familiar standards with her ensemble--Heather Holloway and the Heebie Jeebies--at local spots like Hotel Chantelle and the Flatiron Room. Her voice is possessed of an enchanting, yet disarming, softness, dancing with subtlety and nuance, which easily both engages and delights her audience.
I first made her acquaintance on a Sunday evening in April. Heather again spared a few moments for me before soundcheck to shoot this portrait with available light, between bouts of rain, on the evening of Saturday, May 21, 2016, outside the Rum House in Times Square at the Edison Hotel, which regularly hosts music performances. On this evening she was accompanied by Jordan Piper on keys and Chris Johansen on saxophone.
This was also a bit of a homecoming for me as I once lived on this very street just a block west. I also stayed in this hotel upon my first visit to NYC more than a decade before moving here. This spot in the middle of the theater district, situated between Hell's Kitchen and the diamond district, was once part of my regular foot commute, and it feels like such a distant memory.
You can find out more about Heather's performances at www.heatherhollowaymusic.com.
Tenzin is a friend and bartender in my neighborhood. While she's not shy about the camera, she doesn't normally have time for such things. But between beers during a brief lull at happy hour I asked her to step forward into the available shaft of light for this shot, April 22, 2016.
During a walk with my dog this straightforward, unabashed woman asked if I would take her photograph, and I answered her as I do any other sweet stranger soliciting my work, "of course". Maria is a transplant from Brazil, having lived in New York more years than my lungs have drawn breath. She lives in my neighborhood, yet this was our first encounter. I seemed to have caught her--or rather, she caught me--while she was in a mood, and I'm glad she did. Shot Wednesday, July 13, 2016, NYC.
Irene is a native New Yorker having lived in my neighborhood for over 40 years. I don't want to know what her rent is. Born during the Second World War--but I won't reveal the year--she's seen it all, and she's happy to share. She'll hear your stories too, but don't get cross when she steers the conversation to new topics. As her mind grows restless, instead of bidding adieu, she gives life to a new fanciful tale. Just do what you can to keep up. I've learned of her romances, friends, travels, and pursuits of dance and yoga. Speaking of pursuits, she's fascinated with a local monk that I too see traversing the park on occasion.
Her hair color, much like her rhetorical style, seems to remain in a fluid, transitory state of whim. On this particular day it was a mix of aqua blue and black with magenta highlighting her bangs. Irene may have agreed to pose for a portrait, but her cooperation ended there. It was all I could do to catch her rapidly changing expressions with my manual focus lens. This sequence, shot Wednesday, May 18, pretty much sums it up. She is a character, and she is among some of my favorites in this town.
My street portrait project at