New York- Nov 2009
In November, I took a trip to NYC for the 3rd time. I mostly humoured myself by walking around Manhattan aimlessly, however I did take the opportunity whilst I was there to visit MoMA again and see my favourite sports franchise- the Knicks play to a sell out crowd at Madison Square Garden. Sadly they lost to Golden State 107-121. Perhaps this was because it was Friday the 13th? I love New York, I love how its a melting pot of different cultures and different races. I find the effects of this culture clash on the city fascinating. Another thing that interests me is that for a city that is seen by outsiders, to be very rich, there is a lot of poverty. Its a city with so many job opportunities and what I struggle to understand is why there are so many homeless people in the city. I know that some, have drug addictions etc and this i guess could be why, but its hard to believe that everyone living in poverty in the city is strung out on crack. I spent a lot of time walking around Manhattan, and the scenery instantly changes. You could be outside Madison Square Garden, full of hustle and bustle and what is seen as a "Rich" area and walk three blocks or so west, where you will see what looks like projects and a completely dead area. I stayed in a hotel, opposite MSG and was pretty central, which was good because I got to experience a whole lot more. I didn't do anything touristy this time, which allowed me to absorb a lot more of the real new york. This is what initially spurred me on to do a story about a homeless guy, its what made me see the documentary, Dark Days which has had a strong influence on the story as well. One picture i took sums up my perception on the subject of homelessness. The man in the picture was sat on a bench, on the east river bikeway, underneath F D R Dr and in-between the Brooklyn bridge and the Manhattan bridge. I had seen a few homeless people pass. I saw this guy and it seemed to me that he was contemplating life, completely unaware of his surroundings. I saw it as compelling and wanted to capture it. I carried on walking and shot from the hip, as I took the picture he noticed me and turned round to which I immediately thrust the camera out of sight. This picture while accidental, has meaning. the motion blur gives the viewer the impression of looking away trying to ignore the homeless man. He is looking over to be noticed and acknowledged.
I love the glamorous side of New York but, i like to keep it real and the darker side of the city interests me more.