Being the largest city in the USA, and also in many ways the cultural center of the country, it's not surprising that many photographers have tried to capture the soul of NYC. Among them, some were more successful, some less, but the dedication that this great city inspires in all kinds of artists is still very impressive. New York is simply a fascinating place and a true muse to many artists who appreciate the opportunity to live there. And while NYC-based photographers who have chronicled the life on the streets of New York are not as well-known as, for example, music bands ("Ramones", "Velvet Underground") or film directors (Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen), their work was no less instrumental in capturing the ever-changing essence of NYC, preserving it for future generations and making sure that, in a way, it remains forever alive.
#01 Alfred Stieglitz
While it is hard to choose just five photographers, the first one on our roughly chronological list is an obvious pick. Alfred Stieglitz did not only capture the soul of NYC as it was some 120 years ago but was also a very important figure in the world of photography in general. His inspiring remark that photography can be more real than reality reflects his then progressive stance that photography is a legitimate art form, no less so than painting. When he opened his own gallery in NYC in 1905, called the 291 Gallery, his dream of exhibiting photography along with painting came true. As cameras became easier to move, people like Stieglitz started to explore the possibilities and the aesthetic that this new form of art was capable of.
In terms of New York specifically, Stieglitz's photographs captured NYC in its transitional period (in fact, the whole of the USA was then rapidly changing). Thanks to Stieglitz's compositional and artistic skills, one can find many iconic pictures of New York among his photographs, showcasing the contrast between the old and the (then) new NYC, between the majestic skyscrapers and the horse-pulled trolleys. His New York photography serves as a time capsule back to an intriguing era of great scientific advancement where the echoes of a more simple past could still be felt.
#02 Alfred Eisenstaedt
Some time later came another photographer who captured the soul of NYC, but the soul was different then. As the world was engulfed in the deadly fires of World War II, Alfred Eisenstaedt took it upon himself to capture the mood of the city during the great war and after it. To anyone interested in what New York was like when a lot of its male population was out fighting for freedom, and what it was like when they returned and started rebuilding their lives and their war-torn nation, Eisenstaedt's photography will be a valuable glimpse into this highly-specific time.
His work, however, is not only valuable because it captured the essence of the time, but also because of his pioneering style of photography, wherein he approached his subjects in a very intimate way while trying to reach the raw truth of the people he photographed. His most famous photograph was taken in 1945 on the Victory over Japan Day, when Japan finally surrendered, thus ending World War II. The photograph, showing a nurse being kissed by a soldier, was taken on Times Square, where people were celebrating the end of this horrid war.
Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee, focused on another aspect of New York, producing his most acclaimed work roughly around the same time as Eisenstaedt did. Namely, Weegee's focus wasn't so much on people and their stories, but rather on the dark, criminal and violent side of NYC. It is said that Weegee slept with his day clothes on, with a police radio he obtained and almost never turned off. As soon as he caught wind of an interesting story, he would get up and hurry to the scene of the crime.
Regularly being the first one to arrive there, he would make exclusive photographs detailing the (more or less gruesome) events that took place. Weegee captured one side of NYC's soul that might not be as beautiful as some other aspects of this great city but was still important to document, as a sort of a warning and a harsh reminder of humankind's darker impulses. Thanks to brave men like Weegee, this unpleasant truth was exposed to the general public in a more direct manner.
#04 Nan Goldin
Moving on some 30 years into the future, the next artist on our list is Nan Goldin. This photographer was very influential in shaping the kind of spontaneous style of photography, by taking lots of pictures without any previous preparation (snapshots). What's more, she focused on taking photographs of people who were already in her life, conceptualizing her photography as a sort of a visual diary.
In her prime, she was the chronicler of downtown Manhattan, but not the one we know today, but rather a more shady place that stopped existing after the process of gentrification turned Manhattan into a more of a posh place. To Goldin and her subjects, freedom to express their personalities and emotions was very important, leading to a series of photographs of rather unusual people. While this freedom led to many joyous photographs, there were also darker, even tragic photos of people suffering from AIDS or being addicted to drugs. The soul of NYC as a city of colorful characters was seldom more truthfully captured.
#05 William Klein
A similar thing could be said of William Klein as well, although this photographer focused more on the ethnographic examination of NYC. Originally working as a painter abroad (in Milan and Paris), Klein returned to his hometown to detail in his photography the great ethnic diversity of New York. As his goal was to capture the different cultures of different ethnicities, all residing under the New York sky, being away for so long enabled him to be a somewhat objective observer, while still having the know-how of a New York native.
As a result, fans of photography could get to know another side of NYC's soul, the seemingly incoherent clash of different cultures all coexisting together in one place and, in a way, defining it and giving it its true shape. As Klein had realized, if only one of these cultures were removed, New York would stop being New York, losing a part of its soul and becoming a different place. However, that is, of course, only one part of this city's complex essence. While these five photographers (and others as well) have captured the various pieces of its soul, no one has yet managed to capture it fully, and probably never will.
About the author
An art aficionado, Alex Durick works for the Manhattan's premier moving company divinemoving.com, but he also occasionally does some freelance writing on the side. A lifelong fan of visual arts and music, he uses his free time to catch up on the latest interesting works of art of both high and lowbrow variety. Be it the nightmarish worlds of David Lynch, the poignant words of Bob Dylan, or something entirely different, you can bet that Durick has or will take an interest in it (if only to dismiss it as not being worthy of his time).
No one can deny that moving is highly demanding and a high-level stress causer. However, the endeavor to move your art studio goes even beyond this common frame. If you only think of the irreplaceable artwork you keep there and all the necessary equipment you use, it is easy to realize that no mistake is allowed here. Hence, the whole adventure requires your utmost commitment to planning, organizing and finally conducting this relocation process. Otherwise, you risk damaging or losing some of your precious possessions, which may significantly affect your budget and eventually cause emotional pain as well. To help you handle the moving of your art studio successfully, here are a few useful tips on the subject.
It is never too early to start with the preparations to move your art studio
Due to a vast number of items artists keep at their studios as a rule, you will need a lot of time to orchestrate the moving process in a way that guarantees success. Thus, as soon as your decision to relocate is final, start with the preparations. To move your art studio, you will have to complete numerous errands before the moving day comes. Moreover, you will have to make some important decisions, weigh all available options and make some intelligent and reasonable choices. All this requires a considerable amount of time which you will not have should you start too late.
Before you pack, declutter
Regardless of the type of relocation, decluttering should always precede the packing. The reasons are logical and completely sensible. Firstly, the process results in considerably fewer items to pack. When the moment to move your art studio comes and you start exploring your possessions, you will be surprised by how many of them you do not need, cannot use or don’t use anymore. Consequently, there is no reason to go through the trouble of relocating them to the new location. Secondly, by defining your priorities and eliminating the items you do not need, it will be easier to provide enough packing supplies. Moreover, you will know exactly what kind of supplies will suffice to make your belongings safe and keep them intact until they reach the new destination. Finally, you will be able to save some money on your relocation, which is yet another advantage.
Proper packing is the core of the relocation process
Packing is a crucial factor to achieve problem-free and joyous relocation. If you make a detailed and thorough packing plan, you will be able to finish this task with ease, completely relaxed and focused on the new possibilities and horizons this relocation brings. If you are a photographer, for example, you might steal a few minutes to explore travel photography tips to keep in mind when visiting a new country. On the other hand, if you are a painter or a sculptor, you might search for a new source of inspiration in the rare yet pleasant idle moments during the packing process. Bear in mind that the safety of your items is mandatory, so apply the packing strategies which can meet this challenge.
Packing supplies depend on the type of artwork
Generally, artwork is very delicate and it can get easily damaged, which is definitely what you want to avoid. Depending on the type of art you are into and the type of artwork you create, you will choose the packing supplies which achieve the maximal protection of your possessions. Some of the packing supplies you might need include:
· Moving boxes of various sizes and shapes – These will be necessary for the supplies and small tools you use on a daily basis in the process of creating art. They are perfect for brushes, bottles, paints and similar items.
· Cardboard tubes and cardboard roll files – These are perfect for your loose artwork. By packing them into cardboard tubes, you will decrease the chances of bending or tearing, which may diminish the quality and beauty of your art pieces. Make sure you have some non-stick barrier papers at hand should you need to put a few pieces within the same tube. Once, your artwork is safely packed, putting the cardboard tubes into a cardboard roll file will provide the highest possible protection during the loading, transport, and unloading of your items.
· Stretch wrap and shrink paper – These are particularly helpful when it is necessary to protect canvases, paintings, prints, and framed photographs. Shrink paper protects the paint on canvases, while stretch wrap eliminates any chances of damage due to improper handling or high humidity. Remember to pay close attention to framed pieces since glass is very delicate and can easily get broken.
· Wooden crates – These are compulsory for all sculptors who do not want to jeopardize their pieces during relocation. Only by using wooden crates can you be positive that your art pieces are completely damage-proof.
Remember to label the boxes properly
Labeling boxes is an inevitable step when you need to move your art studio. As we have already mentioned, a lot of items in the studio are fragile, so they need to be marked accordingly. Only this way will these items be handled with care and provided with the highest safety. Labeling will not take much of your time, and yet its importance is outstanding.
Hiring experienced professionals is always an option to move your art studio successfully
If you do not want to risk and move your art studio on your own, hiring professionals is always a reasonable option. Invest some of your time to find experts in this field so as not to jeopardize the safety of your artwork and the art supplies you use. Respectable and experienced movers have the knowledge, moving equipment, and skills you most probably lack, so do not hesitate to contact them. Choose smartly, conduct a background check, compare, and then decide. If you make the right choice, the relocation of your art studio will be efficient and the reason for great satisfaction and joy.
About the author
Susan Stevenson is a copywriter and a great art lover. She has been exploring various forms of art, the lives of famous and less famous artists, and all the problems these talented people face nowadays. She aims at finding as many solutions as she can to help them. One of the fields Susan has gained considerable knowledge in is moving and moving services. She helps artists find respectable, reliable, and professional movers, like those employed at Dorothy & Martha Moving NYC, who can relocate whatever type of art studio smoothly, safely, and efficiently. In her free time, Susan loves traveling, reading, going for long walks, and hanging out with her family and friends.
The Stillness exhibition was truly exceptional and I am proud to say that I was featured in it three times! One photograph was hanging at the entrance of the museum, printed in an enormous size! At the main hall of the exhibition, the visitors could see a video of me called “Snow White”.
Carla van de Puttelaar is a Dutch artist and photographer, art Historian (Ph.D.) and lecturer. She is internationally recognised and awarded for her beautiful work. See her website for the next exhibitions!
Traveling to another country and visiting new places can be scary for anyone. You always have to prepare for a lot of things when visiting a foreign place. When you're a photographer, you also have to consider the situation of your camera and photo shoots before you visit a new country.
When you're abroad you don't have the luxury of being able to carry all of your equipment around. Going through immigration can also be a hassle when you're carrying a lot of equipment. You can't bring everything along with you because of all the processing you have to go through just to bring your photography equipment. This means you have to bring only the essential equipment.
Taking photos while visiting a foreign place means you will prepare more than just your photography equipment. You have to consider that you will bring essentials to help you with your trip as well.
You might bring a small dictionary to help you practice a few basic phrases. You might bring a tablet with you to keep you entertained during the trip. There's a lot of equipment you might consider bringing so only bring the ones you need.
Here are travel photography tips to keep in mind when visiting a new country:
1. Know The Ins and Outs of Your Camera Before You Visit The Country
If you don't know how your camera works you'll be spending more time adjusting the settings of your camera instead of taking photos. Whether you are using a top of the line smartphone, a point and shoot camera or the fanciest DSLR, you should know how your camera works so you won't fumble with the camera during your trip.
You could end up with terrible looking photos because you weren't prepared to adjust the settings of your camera on the fly. Learn how to determine what kind of aperture, shutter speed and ISO value you should set for a sunny day compared to a cool, summer evening.
Knowing the inner workings of your camera will help you spend more time taking photos instead of learning how to adjust the settings.
· Read your camera's instruction manual. Many of the features and functions can be explained there.
· Go online and watch instructional videos that teach you about the different parts of the camera and how they can work.
2. Learn Basic Phrases to Make Your Photo Shoots Easier
One of the easiest things to do before you visit a foreign place is to do some research on the country. You can start by learning a few basic phrases about photography such as how to say "May I take your photo"?
Learn the proper gestures that would permit you to take someone's photo.
Some gestures for a camera may be taken differently if you don't do a little bit of research. One culture may be okay with it but, others may see the gesture as inappropriate.
In any case, knowing the culture also means learning how to be respectful and you don't want to take photos of people and being disrespectful.
Knowing a few basic phrases can make shooting photos easier. The locals would know how to respond and accommodate your request to take a photo.
3. Ask for The Person's Permission before you Take Their Photo
Part of being a tourist is having good manners. One of the best examples of having good manners is by asking for someone's permission before you take their photo. When you're visiting a foreign place, the first thing you'll want to take photos of is the public spaces and the people in it.
Ask the person nicely if they want to have their photo taken. Here's where learning basic phrases will be helpful. You can ask the locals if you can take pictures of them with a language they understand so they will feel more comfortable.
Once you have taken the picture, show the person their photo. If they are satisfied with the photo, thank them for their time and proceed with your day. If they did not like the photo and they request to have the photo deleted then, delete it. Be courteous and thank them for their time if they did not like the photo.
4. Shoot Photos in RAW File Format
One of the biggest challenges of shooting photos abroad is the lack of time to edit your photos. Most of the time, you will be spending time moving around and taking photos. You want to have the freedom to shoot your photos and edit them later on. Saving your photos in RAW format will give you the freedom to edit your photos as needed.
The RAW file format is usually found in DSLR cameras but, recently, it has also been seen in a few point and shoot cameras. RAW photos display the photo as it was taken with the settings of the camera adjusted. This means you can adjust settings that you won't be able to if you shot in a JPEG format.
JPEG file format, the more popular file format, compresses the colors of the photo and you will end up with a less than ideal image. Once you edit a JPEG file, the settings you adjusted will affect the entire image. You have to make a new copy every time you edit.
A RAW photo will give you an image that remains the same, even when you edit it. You can reset your image back to settings you made when you took the photo.
Editing your photos can be challenging if you're playing with the wrong format. One good way to learn about photo retouching is by learning from the experts.
5. Make Sure Your Camera is Easily Accessible with a Light Camera or a Camera Bag
When you're traveling, you don't know when you will find a good moment to shoot photos. The perfect moment to shoot can be unexpected. You could experience problems if you have to go through several pockets in your bag just shoot one photo. After going through all of your pockets, you may have missed the perfect opportunity to shoot the photo.
When you're using your camera bag you have to consider the extra gear you will need to make sure your photo taking is a breeze. There's a fair share of equipment you will need and that means having the essential items being available in your bag.
· Make sure you have space for your lenses. You don't know when you may want to change the way your images look.
· Bring extra batteries. When you're shooting a lot of photos you don't know when your battery could suddenly die out. Having extra batteries will keep you from missing out on taking photos.
· Bring a lot of memory cards. Being in the zone shooting photos can make you forget that your memory card is running out of space. Make sure you have a lot of memory cards so you can keep shooting photos without worrying about your memory card reaching its limit.
A Little Preparation Can Go a Long Way
Visiting a new place can be challenging whether you're a photographer or not. However, as a photographer, you want to be prepared in more ways than the average tourist. Your gear should be stored in a place that is easily accessible.
You can't bring everything so bring only the essentials and you won't be lugging around your equipment everywhere. Carrying the essentials will make you worry less. You won't suddenly panic about not having the proper equipment with you because you already prepared them before the start of your trip.
Taking photos while traveling in another country can be scary but, it doesn't have to be with the right preparations of your travel essentials and photography equipment so you'll spend more time taking photos and less time getting worried.