New York City
Before September 11, New York City was an environment where brashness and creativity were celebrated without apology. Photographers were encouraged to take risks and push the boundaries. Nothing, could be too outrageous or controversial. Gaining access to places as a photographer was fairly easy, and so it was n’t long before I started to take advantage of the city’s unique landmarks and locations. At night, using only available light sources such as street lamps and neon signs, we would setup photography shoots in random locations. This would often include the subway, the Roosevelt Island Sky Tram, Coney Island and the Meat Packing District. In one setup, a waif thin fashion model would be pictured, eating pancakes at a diner in Hell’s Kitchen, in another, she is pictured waiting for the F train at West Fourth and Washington. Funnily enough, none of it seemed to draw more than a passing glance from the locals.
One of the things that has always appealed to me about New York is it’s overriding sense of spontaneity. This is particularly evident when it comes to events and collaborations between artists. I recall one evening, while walking past a church hall off Saint Mark’s, I heard a distant but familiar voice. On entering the hall I discovered Kim Deal from the Pixies, strumming away on an acoustic guitar, while the god father of Beat, Allen Ginsberg read verses of a poem he’d just scribbled down on a napkin. Another time, while getting coffee on Mulberry and Spring I came across the musician Moby. He sat quietly painting a mural in the playground, while further down the street, some local kids danced to the music of the Beastie Boys. The tune Sure Shot, blazing from the speakers of their ghetto blaster.