The year 2018 was a massive overload of fantastic opportunities for both my personal and professional development. Then again, the year 2017 was like a preview of what was to come. One of the many destinations I was fortunate enough to shoot at was the New York City.
I went there to photograph a rooftop engagement in Brooklyn, but I would be a liar if I told you that I wasn’t berserk about shooting some personal street style photography while there. The NYC is the most famous, and perhaps, the most notorious city in the world. Either way, it is a street photographer’s dream. There are not many places which are so instantly recognizable, and so brimming with details.
Street photography – Avoiding the famous NYC sights
I knew immediately that I would steer clear from the sights typically visited by tourists. You know, the Lonely Planet top destinations such as the Central Park, Lincoln Center, or the Empire State Building. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with those legendary places, but they have lost some of the glamour after so many wild hordes of tourists pillaged through them over the years. Now, they have more of a supporting role in this picture – they are like a sturdy frame for a photograph that has incredible, undiscovered details in it. And those details were exactly what I was after for this street style photo-shoot adventure!
Exploring the New York Urban Jungle
If Martin Scorsese’s movies have taught us anything, it is that ever since the Gangs of New York times, this place had some pretty Mean Streets. The idea of getting lost in them is probably downright horrifying to most people.
But my wife and I did precisely that the moment we got the chance. Turn left into a strange looking street, go several blocks in an unknown direction, turn right at the next corner and – badabing! – congratulations, now you are hopelessly lost in an alley, complete with the steam coming from a manhole cover (which is probably covering the portal to hell), busted up trash bins, and I swear – the goddamned yellow cab with Robert De Niro’s Taxi Driver himself behind the wheel. Pay no attention to the cab, the plan was to explore the city on foot, anyway.
Finding the true heart of New York by getting lost in it
Ok, enough with the Scorsese references, New York is so much more than that. Every way you look, you see something absolutely unexpected, weird, yet beautiful in its own, unique way. Getting to know a place by deliberately getting lost is an amazing experience (please, don’t take this as a real piece of advice and end up having your photo on a milk carton, complete with the caption “Have you seen this person?”). “Getting lost”, which is to say, going through the less popular streets, is the only way you can feel the heartbeat of this gargantuan metropolis.
You would not believe how alive the bustling streets are. And the noise, my God, the volume of a standard weekday afternoon in the streets of the Big Apple is louder than a rave party. However, the streets, the New Yorkers, the entire NYC, it all dances to a very specific, hypnotic beat, and going through the throng is an amazing experience in itself. But, for a street style photographer like myself – it is paradise. Enjoy the gallery, and trust me, no matter how strange some of the photos might seem, every single one of them is documentary.
NYC is an amazing place, but you won’t find the real essence of it by taking guided tours. The real city is hidden between the famous landmarks, and I knew that if I muster up the courage to get lost in it, I would eventually find it – the true heart of the New York City.
Photos taken by Street Photographer Damir Plavotić