I arrived in what seemed like a dream. Returning to a place I had severed from my desired destinations for a second chance. This journey outside of my comfort-zone and into the concrete jungle would teach me a few things; learning who we are and what environment we thrive in is an ever-changing process, and in order to find it we must go where we cannot.
This visit wasn’t for my own benefit. It wasn’t set to teach me anything or change my bias. It was simply meant to be an observational experience of a place I hadn’t truly digested. The dream that is New York City refers to the notion that anywhere you go, there are thousands of events and interactions occurring simultaneously. In our own dreams, many things seem out of place or nonsensical, which is a very visible reality in certain parts of the city. You’ll pass by people who have lost everything seconds after walking by a millionaire. There are condemned buildings sitting at the base of monoliths scraping the sky. This constant dichotomy is at times abrasive to the senses, and can seem foreign to anyone not familiar with the structure.
That being said, there is so much to experience in this place that I don’t feel confident putting it into a neatly packaged box to describe and distribute. If you truly wish to witness controlled chaos or infinite opportunity, I can only encourage you to go and see it for yourself. Just weeks after being there, it’s still taking time to process events that occurred in just a couple day’s time.
While there, I choose to channel how the city was affecting me into my photography. Trying my hand at a more candid or “street” style, I attempted to capture my surroundings as is. Praying that the shots were properly exposed and in focus, I shot three rolls of 35mm and filled them with faces I passed by. The raw expression and state of these people was an honor to capture, if even for a second. Pulling them out of their comfort-zone and into the realm of uncertainty where I was can be seen in some of their expressions. Others were unaware that they were even being captured.
Regardless, the emotional vulnerability it took to empathize with each subject I captured taught me the aforementioned lesson about thriving in an environment lacking comfort. I know now that to capture emotions, you have to first be emotional. To capture a vulnerable moment, you must be fully vulnerable. To capture discomfort, you must be uncomfortable. In this realm of reflexive expression is where I thrive.