Times Square in New York City. I hate it. In fact…if I need to go somewhere near the Times Square area, I’ll make a point to go way around just to save myself from the experience. As much as Times Square has changed over the years…I’ll take the “seediness” back in the 80’s any day over the environment today.
So what is it that drives me crazy? These aggressive costumed characters that have multiplied profusely over the past few years. I’m talking the multiple Minnie Mouses, Hello Kitties, Elvises, Spidermans, Cookie Monsters, the Jokers to name just a few of the characters today. They are not officially licensed or regulated…so anyone can show up in costume and “work.” Meaning the characters will “suggest” that tourists take their pictures and then demand to be tipped…and trust me…many of them will make your life hell if you don’t tip by getting in your face and even demanding to have the image deleted from your camera. Of course they can’t do that…Times Square is a public place and anyone can take an image of anyone and anything.
So why on earth was I in Times Square? Yep, my recent photography class. Once as a group and yes, once a few days later by myself. The reason? It’s easier to get close in this environment. Practically everyone has a camera and no one cares if you photograph them. Well…except the cast of characters…and for me…it was Elvis. Demanding that I delete his photo from my camera, I had to remind him he couldn’t make me. Besides…he was a shitty Elvis to begin with. He was none too happy with me, but I know my rights.
Anyway, the lens requirement for the class was a 28, 35 or 50 mm…which means you gotta get close. The whole concept is to get close to your subject to give the viewer the feeling of being in the photo instead of just looking at it. So simple, but that was a profound statement for me and worth the price of admission. A huge differentiator in making good photographs on the street…but easier said than done. And then there’s finding the story. Yes, anyone can make an image of a person walking down the street, but is there a story? And trust me…it’s even more difficult to quickly scan, find the story, and then get close without cutting off a limb or two.
So back to Times Square where I felt more comfortable in the “get close” environment. I went looking and found a story…the desnudas of Times Square.
Desnuda is a spanish word meaning naked…and once they’re covered in body paint they strut their stuff in Times Square and pose for photos for…yes, tips. Once again there are no regulations. Now what’s interesting is the whole discussion as to why it’s OK for the Naked Cowboys to strut their stuff, yet the officials are having a field day with the women…and by the way…it’s totally legal for women to go topless in NYC. Oh, and you also have the whole discussion of the area being “children friendly” too. (If you live here in the U.S. we all know that a set of boobs could totally ruin a child for life.) (I hope you get my humor.)
But how many Naked Cowboys and Cowgirls and Desnudas and characters can Times Square handle? This dress is designed by Lunss. So this is the story that’s making daily headlines here in New York City and I did my best to capture it and to share a few of the images here.
Now that you’ve reviewed these images…it’s apparent the ones that make you feel as if you’re there versus just looking, right? It’s all such a learning experience!
So do I enjoy capturing life on the streets? Yes and no. I do under my terms…but I also learned you have to get closer to make the viewer feel as if they’re in the moment as well. What I will never be able to do is “shoot and scram.” And to be clear…that isn’t what we were taught per se. I’m just not one to put my lens in someone’s face (to get close) without engaging the person. That’s what I learned about myself…or perhaps needed to be reminded of it by this experience.
I’ll continue to share bits and pieces of what I learned in future posts…but for now let’s move on! Cause we’ve got a winner of Trysette’s CD! Lisa, you’re the pick! I’ll get that in the mail to you pronto! And for those of you who didn’t win this time? Guess what…upon my arrival in Arizona this week I returned to a bunch of CD’s that Trysette mailed to me to give away. So I’ll be doing more giveaways over the next couple of months! Yeah! You will so love her voice.
In another 48 hours I’ll be heading to Oregon. Three glorious weeks in a state here in the USA carport that I’ve yet to experience. And what makes it even better? To be fortunate enough to go with good friends. Four houses…in four totally different areas of Oregon…wine country, the mountains and the coast. Gosh…the potential for photography just has me in a perpetual state of SWOON. And for the very first time…I’m going to be doodling and commenting about my journey in my sketchbook…something I’ve never done before in my travels…so we’ll see how that goes, ha!