With each click of my shutter on the streets of Manhattan, I fall a little more in love. There is just something about a New York City sidewalk that has so much life that when you shoot a model walking down the street, it’s almost like a double portrait.
Mere minutes ago I finished my second fashion editorial for Her Campus.com, the national online college women’s magazine for which I am Style Editor. I had my models posing in my stairwell, on my fire escape, and ultimately outside in 40 degree weather where they put up with my zaniness in sleeveless dresses. What? They’ve had to do far worse on Top Model.
But when we were outside, the photographs had a certain vibrancy that I think was entirely due to the streets. Cars whizzing past, people shuffling in the crosswalk as I tried to shoot my models before the ‘Walk’ sign changed (pure hilarity—I’m glad my models were such good sports).
What really was the crowning moment was hailing a cab, telling the driver I would pay the fare if my models could pose with the car. He smiled and said “Yeah, sure.” That was all I needed. In an instant I posed the girls in front of the cab, on the hood of the car, inside it. And the driver ended up charging me nothing at all, just saying “Forget it,” with a smile and he drove off. We may have made his night!
When I was shooting outside, I understood the reason why so many movies have been shot here, so many books take place here, so much art is produced here in general. There’s something about the speed of the city, the grime, the flashing lights and the noise that inspires. I can’t say what it is for sure, but I know there’s an extra electricity pulsing in my veins that I haven’t felt in any other location.
I love how lights on cabs look in photographs as they rush past, solid beams of colored light implying movement. I love how the sky is the clearest, most solid color—like a white wall painted blue—on really beautiful days, and how that sky somehow brightens even the tallest skyscrapers or the lowest subway entrances. There is beauty, sometimes unconventional, everywhere. This city is not passive—it’s a living, breathing being. It has a heart and a soul, and on nights like tonight I can really feel it.
I hope to be in the category one day of famous artists who have used the city as their canvas, but for now I am content to have New York as my muse.
|Models in the crosswalk|