Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Miss Manhattan Hangs Out...for One Year!

So here we are, one year later, and I can hardly believe it.

Sometimes I wonder if the perpetuation of a project depends less on its end goal than the ability to just think about what’s coming next: who am I profiling this week, next week, the week after? On the days when I didn’t necessarily have an answer, I had to have faith that I would connect with a subject in time for the coming Wednesday. In every case, it turns out, I was right to trust in the uncertainty and chaos, and everything would be fine. I think in this way Miss Manhattan Hangs Out has taught me to be more present, that there’s only so much you can plan on before you have to let go.

I originally started this project because I wanted to push myself as a photographer more. How could I show I could do the work I wanted to be getting? Perhaps the easiest way was to give myself the assignments and see what happened. It’s not an overnight process, and it keeps going. Every day is an opportunity to think differently about how you make images, and I do notice positive changes in my work that have been brought on by this project, whether it’s from forcing myself to develop a narrative structure or thinking about how I edit images or the kinds of visuals I keep creating and how I can push myself to go beyond those comfort zones or even just taking fewer pictures and making each time I press the shutter really count. I think I still have a lot to learn, but I think anyone who creates...anything...does. I find that pursuit of knowledge more exciting and less daunting because I have seen myself work through at least one phase of it and that’s encouraging. Little victories, I always say.

This project also taught me how much can change in a year. How our perspectives shift and how our experience of the world grows with every person we meet, every shutter click, every day out where we had no idea what to expect. I am grateful to the subjects of this project, without whom it would not exist, for allowing me opportunities to access change in myself, to see what I want and what I’ve been missing in my own life and work and outlook simply by spending time with them. It has been an honor and a pleasure to be invited in, to drink tea and bloody marys and see museum exhibitions and watch cabaret performances and visit studios and classes and and and…

In celebration, as with our last check-in, here are some never-before-seen images from the last six months. Please subscribe to Miss Manhattan Hangs Out and tell a friend to! And if you’re interested in being a subject or know someone who might, please email me at elyssa@miss-manhattan.com. I’m excited to see what this next year will bring.

Miss M

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Photo of me below by Rebecca Astorga.

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