141114 NYC9 - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

I’m back, again, from New York City.

This was my ninth trip to the city, but only my third trip that included staying overnight. I was there with my favourite person, who had a conference to go to, so it wasn’t purely a photographic trip. This changed things somewhat: less night photos and less need for sustained intensity. I even took the time to visit MoMA, which I hadn’t done since NYC1. That’s Jasper Johns Flag 1954-55 in the photo above, which is one of my favourites from the collection.

For NYC9 I set myself a goal that I doubt I’ve attained: to photograph what New York sounds like. Regardless of the outcome it was a worthwhile exercise. I photographed in ways that I hadn’t before, emphasizing movement, shapes, and colours over square lines and geometry.

This trip also taught me the value of using continuous drive instead of single frames. So many subtle changes can happen in a frame, even for static scenes. Reflections in shop windows would move with traffic passing behind me; flickering fluorescent lights shifted emphasis from one surface to another. There’s no way to see that with our overworked and time-constrained eyes, let alone time it correctly with an LCD-based camera, but with a quiet little machine there’s almost no penalty to just holding down the shutter button for a few extra moments.

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