A GOOD WALK
Golf is often described as a good walk spoiled. I think the same could be said about street photography. I've lived and/or worked in Manhattan for over 20 years, and yet never gave street photography much thought in those two decades. I originally moved to New York City in 1996, with dreams of becoming a writer. I even owned a typewriter, damn it, so I was destined for success! Not overnight success, mind you. As for photography, let's just say I enjoyed many an unspoiled walk in this fair city. In those days, as a writer, I tended to look inward a lot, crafting worlds at the expense of missing what Manhattan's streets had to offer those who were willing to open their eyes to the city's decadent urban splendor. No, that wouldn't happen for me until 2015 or so, after I received a Fitbit as a Father's Day gift. Step counts eventually gave way to shutter clicks.
But even then, photography and spoiled walks were mutually exclusive endeavors. Back then, I could easily walk several miles a day, with the sole intent of burning calories. But as I wandered around the West Village, or SoHo, or Alphabet City, I began to notice little details I used to take for granted. Like a mailbox on Thompson Street (as seen on the left). The light was hitting it in just the right way to make me stop and take a picture of it with my phone. After that, I began to document what I saw along my walks. If something caught my eye, I caught that same thing with my phone's camera. This wasn't photography--it was simply incidental to logging miles on my Fitbit. But the more I continued to walk, the more I saw along the way. And the more I saw, the need to document odd, ephemeral moments and tableaux became more urgent.
Soon, I was racking up miles and shots. Before I knew it, my walks were good and spoiled--and thus began my street photography in earnest. My earlier work, such as it was, concerned itself more with interesting compositions. But over time, I came to realize the importance of titling my photographs. By juxtaposing words with images, I was able to take my photography to an entirely different level. Lately I've come back around on this, as I do believe a good image should be able to stand on its own merits, without clever wordplay to elevate the meaning behind a particular shot.
In any case, I hope you enjoy exploring the photos I've curated for this site. There are thousands more, but these images are among my favorites. I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon so many random, inspired moments. So much of street photography comes down to luck, persistence, and timing. And footwear. As Magnum photographer Abbas has famously said, "Get a good pair of walking shoes." Indeed, never underestimate the importance of comfortable shoes. Without them, you'll never get very far.