Showcase: School Days
Showcase: Are You There, Dad?
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New York City
“The best city in the world.”
I’ll admit it — I’ve rolled my eyes in reaction to New Yorkers implying, or sometimes just directly stating, their city’s superiority over mine. But I think I was missing the point: Bravado is part of the package with this first class city.
New York encourages superlative work in nearly every medium. Bagel and pizza eaters say there’s something in the water, scientists theorize that Manhattan would have been the best national park in the country, and Pictory contributor Carla Drago suggested that the city’s strict grid is a component of its creative success. Surely a little confidence doesn’t hurt either.
This lucky thirteenth showcase, published on the six month anniversary of Pictory’s launch, seems an occasion to celebrate the concept of showing off. I’m proud to have NYC designer Nicholas Felton of Feltron Annual Report fame as my guest designer, and Josh Haner of the New York Times Lens Blog as my guest curator. But at the end of the day, the submissions — the beautiful, authentic, sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heart-stopping photo stories I’ve received from Pictory members over the last six months — are truly humbling.
Block Party ∞
Harlem is a world of its own. I love how a barbecue can start right on the sidewalk during the summer — who needs a backyard? Outside of Cuba I’ve never seen a neighborhood where a game of dominoes is such a street corner fixture. And don’t ask me to pick the best soul food restaurant, because they’re all amazing in different ways. This block party was my first as a resident of this energetic and spontaneously creative neighborhood.
Photographer: Hafeez Raji
Art director by day, voyeur with a camera acting as a photojournalist by night.
Early Arrival ∞
Losing a night of sleep on my red-eye flight didn’t keep me from appreciating Manhattan at its golden morning best. The energy of the street and its inhabitants, including this beautiful blonde, kept me going.
Photographer: Bonnie Tsang
Bonnie Tsang is a Los Angeles lifestyle and wedding photographer.
Magic Hour ∞
For my wife’s 30th birthday, we spent a few nights taking in the city with some good friends. We had just finished dinner at Eleven Madison Park — likely the best dining experience of my life — and were running late for a show. The traffic up by Times Square was getting thick, so we decided to go the rest of the way on foot. I snapped this shot and stuffed my camera in my bag.
As we were running, the setting sun caught my wife’s hair as she looked back towards me, laughing. In that moment, she was the only light in the whole city, like everything up to that point had been a lie and the only truth was my wife and this light.
New York is a big, congested, gritty backdrop that makes everything cinematic. It’s the kind of place where you can’t — or, at least shouldn’t — put the camera away because the smallest moments become important beats in the narrative.
Photographer: Trey Hill
Trey Hill is a photographer and storyteller living in Dallas.
I love New York’s street food, which spills out across the sidewalks at all times of the year and all hours of the day. And I love that in New York you can acquire absolutely anything your heart desires, from knock-off sunglasses to fresh cherries in the middle of January. I paused to take this shot on a bitterly cold night while on my way to partake in a delicious Szechuan hot pot with friends. I loved how warm the light was, despite the freezing piles of snow.
Photographer: Erin Watson
I live in and love Chicago, where I work for a nonprofit, take pictures, knit, and explore.
Deer in the Headlights ∞
Perhaps this stranger is approaching New York the way I did. I was excited and overwhelmed by something bigger than I’d faced before. I was a deer in the headlights, a tourist who was seeing and experiencing something new in the backdrop of one of the most interesting and inspiring places in the world. Intrigued, intimidated, curious.
It was not love at first sight. I fell in love with New York by working and studying here over the years. I fell in love by taking long walks with my camera, doing creative projects in school, eating in the sidewalk cafes, meeting fascinating people, and even by taking the trains. Other places I have visited since pale in comparison to the variety, energy, and zeal of New York City.
Photographer: Lana V.
I am a digital nerd, photography amateur, library book renter, dog lover, cat owner, coffee addict, class clown, and New Yorker.
I Hate 42nd Street ∞
As a seasoned resident of New York, I try to avoid Times Square as much as possible. Unfortunately I work a few blocks away, so I’m stuck with thousands of tourists gawking at shiny lights, looking at their maps, or walking at a snail’s pace. I will say that I’ve honed my “dodge and weave” skills and picked up tricks like walking in the street with the cabs, but sometimes I just want to yell “GET OUT OF MY WAY! I NEED TO GET TO THE SUBWAY!” No wonder New Yorkers are thought of as rude — just trying to walk through Times Square will turn the calmest person into a lunatic.
Photographer: Jeff Rogers
I am a graphic designer, illustrator, and photographer living and working in NYC. I work during the day at SpotCo designing broadway theatre posters and I do freelance work at night. And when there is time, I play in several bands and try to get out into the wilderness.
Stare Game ∞
In a city as dense as New York, private moments are sometimes inadvertently shared with the public. I was waiting for the uptown 6 train in Canal Station when I saw this couple across the platform. As they stared intently, and wordlessly, at each other, I couldn’t quite figure out if they were mad or simply madly in love. Right as I snapped the shutter, the train started moving and they were gone.
Photographer: Michael Chung
I am a freelance industrial designer and filmmaker working in NYC. I take pictures mostly while I am traveling. Otherwise, I do nothing and have no talent.
Rush Hour ∞
I was so overwhelmed by Grand Central Station at rush hour that I had to stop and just take it all in. This image of broken light and busy commuters begins to capture the energy of the scene.
Photographer: Linzi Cason
I am a Blackpool-based photographer working as Blackpool Council’s official photographer, and I also have my own business.
The Grid ∞
Manhattan is an urban hive: an endless rhythm of streets crossing avenues and buildings stacked into the sky. The grid is everywhere in Manhattan, casing the city’s tapestry with regular, rectilinear bursts. Even below ground the pattern persists; movement, color, and people are captured, divided, and framed. I’ve often wondered if the emphatic regularity of Manhattan’s built environment has allowed the city its exuberance. With a three dimensional grid as its anchor, New York is free to improvise, rhyming and breaking with unmatched virtuosity (just like the hip hop it spawned). Like no other place, it celebrates diversity, embraces all comers, and encourages the notion that anything and everything is possible. Even in its most ordinary of guises — a group of strangers waiting for the 6 train — I’m reminded of its potential.
Photographer: Carla Drago
Carla is a creative director and producer of new media with a background in writing and directing for film and television. Carla holds a master’s degree in interactive multimedia and is currently undertaking creative-based doctoral research exploring photography and memory at the University of Technology, Sydney.
For the Love of the Game ∞
When I moved to Inwood, located at the tippy-top of Manhattan, I had no idea I was just two blocks away from one of New York City’s sacred streetball venues. Summer games at Dyckman Court are intense. Hundreds of fans crowd around as the players — including college and pro ballplayers — race up and down the green court. All the while, a pair of emcees straddle the sidelines, crafting nicknames for new players and letting everyone know when they catch fire or, more often, get owned. Between the play-by-play over the P.A. and the rumble of the 1 train overhead, it’s just another summer night at Dyckman.
Photographer: Drew Geraets
Drew Geraets is a web designer/producer and an amateur photographer living in St. Paul, Minnesota. He lived in Manhattan with his wife for two years.
The sounds and rhythms of the daily subway train routine are hypnotic, rocking some to sleep but encouraging me to stare out the window and daydream. I can’t ever help peering into the buildings that speed past and wondering about the people inside. The cars sway back and forth, wheels clatter on tracks, and my thoughts loop back to my own life, replaying tiny details of the day and sound bites from recent conversations.
Photographer: Julia Parris
Julia Parris is a fine art and commercial photographer currently living in North Carolina.
Looking Out from Lady Liberty ∞
During a weekend visit in 2001, we surprised ourselves by waking up early and hopping on the first ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Despite a fair bit of pushing and shoving with other tourists, I managed to take this picture from the crown of the statue. It remains one of my favorite images of the city. It almost makes me feel, for one small moment, like the World Trade Center Towers still stand and 9/11 never happened.
Photographer: Els Sipkes
I am a photographer, writer, and graphic artist currently living near Charleston, South Carolina.
1000 feet above the Hudson River, the crowds and frenetic activity of New York seemed so subdued and far away. I’ve found that the world always seems deceptively serene from the cockpit, even in combat zones. But in this case I longed to be a part of the familiar smells, tastes, sounds, and energy unfolding below.
Photographer: Lukas Filler
After ten years of flying planes, I changed jobs and am currently doing university funded post-graduate research on the differences between Western and Chinese methods of conflict resolution (but only as a way to justify rock climbing and surfing in beautiful destinations).
Hazy Manhattan Dreams ∞
Though I spend most of my time working in the middle of Manhattan, my favorite place to be is on the outskirts, gazing at the entirety of the island and its grandness. On this day, I found myself in DUMBO under the Manhattan Bridge, just a few neighborhoods over from where I was born, remembering that this was the view of the city I grew up looking at.
Photographer: Eric Hart
I am the assistant props master at the Public Theater. I live in Queens, NY. I have been photographing since 2004.
Heat Wave ∞
During a recent visit to New York, a friend and I enjoyed a beautiful, cloudless, unseasonably hot spring day. We swung by Central Park and it seemed like everyone in the city had come out to enjoy the sun. It felt magical to see all these people who live surrounded by concrete rolling around in the grass.
Photographer: Matthew Gore
I’m an art director and part-time photographer based in Chicago. I like vodka gimlets, fast cars, and loud music.
Walking around with my family, I saw this group of Indian tourists pointing and filming something behind me. Curious, I turned around and saw this incredible reflection of part of the New York skyline reflected on this building.
Photographer: Jasmeet Singh
I’m a lifetime student of photography. I’ll be graduating at my funeral.
Looking Up ∞
I love the geometry and intricacy of New York. Everything has a place and minute details line up within a bigger picture. But sometimes, when I travel to the city, I feel a little trapped. I miss the sky. I can never be truly comfortable in a place where blue heaven is barred by buildings and hidden by skyscrapers. It is rare to find open and endless sky. Instead, it is glimpsed through glass and obscured by structures. As much as I enjoy the opportunities and possibilities of a cosmopolitan city like New York, I long for the freedom and simplicity of clear cerulean skies.
Photographer: Cherylynn Tsushima
Southern California girl in Boston. Journalism student at Emerson College. Traveler. Adventurer. Photographer. Dancer. Tea drinker. Mover and shaker. Stargazer. Reader. Practical idealist.
We stumbled upon the Guggenheim during a walk through Central Park. As we wound our way up the museum floors and marveled at Kandinsky’s work, I realized that this beautiful museum, one of 80-some-odd in the city, is quite a good reason to love New York.
Photographer: Susan Hobbs
I am a mother, a lover, and a woman in tech navigating the social media world of San Francisco.
High Art ∞
I go to New York City for inspiration, when I’m looking to jolt my point of view a bit. I just about died when MoMA opened the new building in 2005; it’s so striking. I love the sight lines, the interior windows, and the warmth of the wood. I’ve visited the museum at least once a year since then, and rarely bring a camera — preferring instead to absorb the experience.
Photographer: Amy Pezzicara
Amy is a professional photographer based in Tampa, Florida.
I used to go to the Strand bookstore on 12th and Broadway to sell my books at the end of every college semester. It was easy to get lost in that space, where everything was crammed together and piled high. I loved to browse their seemingly endless supply of titles, a collection as unique and full of surprises as the city it lives in.
Photographer: Julie Kondo
I am a producer and designer living in New Jersey. I love drawing and shooting film.
Blizzard In Tribeca ∞
Just prior to this shot, a police officer drove up and rolled down his window to ask if his tire tracks would have a negative impact on my shot. After I told him yes, he nodded, put his car in reverse, and went the opposite direction. His courtesy and respect had a profound effect on me, and I still hold it close to this day.
Photographer: Eddie O'Bryan
Graphic designer and photographer, with homes in both Austin and New York City.
The Last Day ∞
I always found it fascinating that my husband grew up, along with his 4 siblings, parents, and dog, in an apartment on the Upper East Side. It was not a typical apartment — it covered an entire floor, featured a wood-burning fireplace and views, and felt like a house. It was quite the respite from my own small apartment in Harlem. Last year my husband’s parents passed away, and we spent many months disassembling the family home of 60 years. With each successive visit, the apartment had less energy and fewer traces of a life well lived. This photo was taken in our last moments in the building, our last time being on the inside looking out.
Photographer: Aline Smithson
Photographer, editor, educator, Aline Smithson lives in Los Angeles and yes, still shoots film.
Nice Shoes ∞
Approval or disapproval covered the face of this little girl as people walked by — she smiled when she loved clothes and made faces when she didn’t. But the face she made when this woman passed by beat all — I think her shoes were the best the girl had seen all day.
Photographer: Iryna Andronova
The Sounds of the City ∞
My friend, Meena, is an amazing violist. One lazy Sunday afternoon, we went up to my roof and she performed for the entire neighborhood. I was not surprised when she received a standing ovation.
Photographer: Sasithon Pooviriyakul
Sasithon is a born and bred New Yorker. She was introduced to her first camera over ten years ago and they’ve been best friends ever since.
I was near Grand Central Station when I noticed loads of paparazzi at a restaurant across the street, so I decided to pretend to be one for the evening. Wealth is a major part of New York, and I feel like this image of well-heeled strangers speaks to that.
Photographer: Edward Cotton
I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn and work for an ad agency based in Sausalito. Photography is something I love and wish I could be better at.
Paying Tribute ∞
I don’t care for the Tribute in Light, but when I captured it on September 11th, 2007, with the orange glow of the city lights looming up beneath it like specters from the grave, there was something both alien and magical to what I saw on my camera’s LCD screen.
Photographer: Sam Friedman
Sam Friedman is a filmmaker, musician, writer, and photographer who resides in Bedstuy, Brooklyn.
I hadn’t been to New York since the summer of 2001, and since then I had heard that Williamsburg had turned into a neighborhood of loud and obnoxious rich kids. I feared that the instant I arrived I would be attacked by neon sights and sounds. My experience was quiet the opposite. It was like a ghost town when I took this photo of the Williamsburg Bridge. I loved the surprising silence of this moment.
Photographer: audrey le
Born in Nebraska but raised in Northern California. San Francisco as been my home for the last (lucky) 13 years. I love daydreaming, comedy, the Pacific Coast Highway, and Game 7s.
Chasing Birds in Brooklyn ∞
In February, I went to New York to visit the wonderful artist who inspired me to become a photographer and taught me how to see the odd moments of beauty in life. This image, taken right after we said goodbye, came together with her fresh influence upon me — I was so very fortunate to witness the birds, empty street and winter sky come together.
Photographer: Kevin Charles
Aspiring physician and artist in Vancouver.
Rainbow Over Red Hook ∞
It was one of those sunny but stormy summer days. I had been shooting in Red Hook with a photographer friend when within seconds, the sky darkened and we found ourselves in a downpour. We ran to shelter in a nearby cafe and when the storm passed, found ourselves staring at this beautiful rainbow lit by the returning sun. I ran into the middle of the street and snapped this photo before it disappeared. That was the day I fell in love with Red Hook.
Photographer: Lauren Farmer
I am a photographer based in New York City. I shoot urban portraits and landscapes, and enjoy photographing decay in abandoned buildings.