Skyscrapers & Hotdogs by Honey J Walker ARPS
New York, New York, what a wonderful town! A city I used to know very well having visited annually, for either work or pleasure since my early teens. Then Covid hit and an interlude of over four years before I visited this chaotic, frenetic and exciting city again was inevitable. As with most large cities, New York is made up of a series of boroughs and as you walk from one to another, the atmosphere, architecture and local inhabitants change. Sometimes subtly, more often it is like a slap in the face.
A Pink Affair
One minute China Town, the next Little Italy and only a street between the two. The neon signs and bright lights of Times Square, the brownstones and river views of Brooklyn, skyscrapers jostling with hotdog stands. The homeless on street corners, the fashionistas on Spring Street, acres of glass soar into the sky jutting either side of the nodding daisies and wafting grasses of the Highline. I have always found NY to be a city of contradictions, dirty and dilapidated, always noisy with the wail of sirens and the honking of horns and the traffic always gridlocked. Yet always reinventing itself too, with refashioned quarters and new and innovative architecture which very quickly becomes part of the fabric.
On this trip I ended up staying in three completely different areas, the Lower East Side, Times Square and Brooklyn, I divided my time, almost equally. As such I gained a unique perspective of the different energies that I encountered, from one borough to another as they were all part of the same trip and so the differences were more marked. In many ways each time I moved it felt like a different city, the only continuous links being the infamous yellow taxis and the graffiti.
A Pink Affair
When I looked back on the images I created in each area, I felt that what I was looking at was a pictorial love letter. The energy and exuberance of the city shines through with hope and affection. The colour pallets and images I create always seem to find me. I rarely set out with a specific image in mind to be captured. I like to wander, absorb the energy of a
place and listen to what it is saying to me. So perhaps it is a not so much a love letter as a conversation between two very good friends, filled with affection and the excitement of meeting up after a long separation.
Either way I feel the images have a hopeful, uplifting quality that speaks to me of the essence of NY. I work creating multiple exposure images, primarily in camera, using a Canon R5. Creating these layers is similar to exploring the multi-faceted essence of a place. Nowhere and no one is one dimensional, everything in life is made of layers and this way of making images helps me to reveal the subtleties and complexities of a place and of my response to it.
From images taken in Times Square of the skyscrapers and neon lights to the image taken at the Oculus at Ground Zero, I feel the strong link across all the photographs is the affection and excitement I have for this city.
I hope that this conversation love letter to my New York is obvious and heartfelt.
Summer in the City
All images © Honey J Walker ARPS
This article was featured in the RPS Landscape Group's Newsletter, October 2022.
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