The People of New York City in March

I just returned from a 4 day trip to NYC. It wasn’t a photography trip, it was a family vacation. My family has always been very patient with me and would never expect me to leave the camera behind. My kids grew up seeing me with a camera in my hand every day, it’s an extension of who I am. But I want to show them that there are moments that don’t need to be immortalized in pixels to remain in our hearts forever so I make an extra effort to let go a little of what has become the major focus in my life. 

During those personal trips I don’t make plans to meet any photographer friends and I only grab a shot here and there without the luxury of waiting for the decisive moment. It’s definitely more of a challenge because, as street photographers, we often have to wait for the right subject to enter the frame to get the shot we envisioned. Removing that important part of the hunt definitely complicates things. I use this extra challenge as an exercise. With so few pictures on my memory card, will I have any keepers at the end of the day? The hardest part is to be able to remain calm and not get frustrated when I miss great photo opportunities. I often have to take a deep breath and remind myself that it’s only a picture, and that the streets of NYC will still be there when I lead my next photo workshop later this year. I know some of you are rolling your eyes, wondering what the big deal is. But I know that many of you know exactly the feeling I’m talking about. 

New York is one of those rare places that I see equally in color and B&W. Here are some of the people of NYC (and other miscellaneous things) that caught my eye during the weekend.

Let’s start with color…

Peace and Justice for all at the Starbucks Reserve.

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

Sometimes the right subject comes around the corner on a perfect backdrop as you are walking by and you can’t believe your luck. This was one of those quick shots that was well worth jumping with both feet in a puddle between two parked cars. The eye contact was the cherry on the cake, even if the focus is a bit soft on the subject.

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

Other times you see a great backdrop and hope that the human element will be strong enough to make an interesting shot.

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

The girl and the birds. Other times you walk by a stranger and see a story, even if it is the hair and hat color combination that first caught your attention. 

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-9

©Valerie Jardin

Three yellow cats, one with an eye patch.

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

And a bright yellow wall. If is wan’t for the ever present smartphone, this picture would have been quite timeless…

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

Night time and the common sight of steam rising from the NYC grates.

©Valerie Jardin - NYC-12

©Valerie Jardin

Now in B&W…

It was a windy day in Central Park, some of the paths were quite deserted and people were hurrying to get away from the wind.

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

There will always be readers at the beautiful Strand book store on Broadway.

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

Meanwhile, waiting outside the deli…

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

We finished another busy day at the pub around the corner

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

where I caught the musicians on a break.

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

During the visit of Ellis Island, I was quite taken by the large windows, the symmetry and the reflections in the impressive immigrants’ registration hall. I can’t miss an opportunity to photograph a silhouette when I find a location like this. Thankfully, a lone subject entered my frame almost immediately and I caught up with the rest of the family on the tour.

©Valerie Jardin

©Valerie Jardin

So, if you are a photography nut like me, here is my piece of advice. Next time you’re on a short family vacation, use the limitations as an exercise. Don’t get frustrated when you miss a great photo opportunity in the streets. Some moments are still best captured by our senses.

Enjoy and please leave a comment below. Thanks for your continued support!

11 thoughts on “The People of New York City in March

  1. Bonjour Valerie,
    Je viens de lire ton texte et vraiment je me vois moi même à Nyc ( je viens de retourner la semaine dernière)
    Je voyage toujours en famille avec mon mari et mes deux enfants et qui ont vraiment beaucoup de patience avec
    “mes photos …” Et tu as décrit vraiment comment on se sent dans ses voyages familiers. On apprend a profiter des moments et seuleument si on peut on les attrape
    Besos desde España

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just watched a wonderful documentary about the life and work of Dorothea Lange. I think you have a lot of those same storytelling and documentation qualities in your own work. Just people with cellphones instead of shovels. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Valerie, I love that we both can relate to the idea of trying to “let go” of the moment and know that there will be others. It’s not easy to NOT photograph whatever you want all the time. I love this round of New York, and I know someday, you and I will be there together!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Valerie. I totally agree with Gerry above. I look forward to each one of your e-mails. I have never enjoyed black and white but I certainly do appreciate the artwork that you display in each of your B&W shots. I now reside in the Philippines where I have retired after 42 years of flying. You would find it a real challenge to exclude the fabulous color that is a constant here. All the best to you.

    Bill Malarkey

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great images Valerie and good advice as always. The shot in the great hall at Ellis Island is priceless. This is a must visit place anytime I’m in NYC. I think too many times, we street photographers tend to avoid the tourist places. This image is a clear testament to the contrary.

    Take care

    Gerry Suchy from Street Focus

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Gerry!! I really enjoyed Ellis Island and made the best of a touristy spot photography-wise. I think it’s all about not putting too much pressure on yourself when you’re not on a photography ‘mission’ while remaining alert to your surroundings as if you were.

      Like

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