The urban lens

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Features, History, photography, The urban lens, Top Stories

Wayne Sorce, Joseph Bellows Gallery, NYC 1970s, NYC 1980s, NYC photography

Dave’s Restaurant, New York, 1984. © Wayne Sorce courtesy of the Joseph Bellows Gallery

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, the Joseph Bellows Gallery shares the late Wayne Sorce’s “Urban Color” series. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Chicago-born photographer Wayne Sorce began capturing the people and places of urban landscapes while at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1960s. In the late ’70s and early ’80s he took large-scale color photos of his hometown and New York, capturing “a formal exactitude, the light, structures, and palette of these cities within a certain era,” according to a press release from the Joseph Bellows Gallery in L.A. where this “Urban Color” series is currently on view. Not only do the vivid colors help express the spirit of the city at this time, but the way Sorce incorporates people exposes a unique energy in which they serve as “both inhabitants, as well as sculptural forms relating to a larger composed scene.” From Manhattan barbershops and restaurants to the gritty, industrial streets of Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, the photos transport the viewer to a bygone NYC.

See all of Sorce’s photos here

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Features, photography, Queens, The urban lens

Eclectic Row. Briarwood, NY. 2017. © Rafael Herrin-Ferri

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Rafael Herrin-Ferri shares a portion of his photographic survey “All the Queens Houses.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Spanish-born architect, artist, and Sunnyside resident Rafael Herrin-Ferri began photographing Queens’ low-rise housing stock back in 2012 after being struck by the borough’s unique combination of attached and detached houses and small apartment buildings. Inspired by the fact that Queens is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse places in the world, Herrin-Ferri wanted to capture the “layers of culture and the blending of neighborhoods” through these eclectic houses.

Fast forward five years and 5,000 photographs and his work is now the focus of an Architectural League of New York exhibit “All the Queens Houses,” which features 273 snapshots of individual houses in as many as 34 neighborhoods. Ahead, see Rafael Herrin-Ferri’s favorite of the bunch and hear from him on how he got into the project and why he loves Queens.

All that ahead

photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Orestes Gonzalez shares his series “Dark Sandy,” photos he took five years ago when lower Manhattan lost power during Hurricane Sandy. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

“Never had I seen Manhattan in such darkness… I had to get over there and experience this dark phenomenon with my camera,” says Orestes Gonzalez of his series of photographs taken the night Hurricane Sandy hit New York City. As we now approach the fifth anniversary of the Superstorm, the photos are a reminder of how far we’ve come, and in some cases, how much work still needs to be done. In fact, 20% of the 12,713 families who enrolled in the city’s Build it Back program are still waiting for construction to wrap up or for a property buyout. But despite some of the post-storm issues, in the wake of the disaster, Orestes remembers the “sense of camaraderie” he experienced during those dark times, a trait that New Yorkers have come to be known for.

Hear from Orestes and see the full series

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Features, History, photography, The urban lens

The corner of Broadway and 55th Street in 1970

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Edward Grazda shares photos from the “mean streets” of 1970s and ’80s NYC. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

When photographer Edward Grazda moved to New York in the early ’70s, he was renting a loft on Bleecker Street for $250 a month during a time when the city was in a financial crisis, jobs were hard to come by, and places like the Bowery were facing a huge rise in homelessness. But it was also a time when a new generation of artists were beginning to move in. Instead of the tourist- and millionaire-filled streets we see today, 40 years ago they were teeming with energy. “I felt like there were many possibilities to be creative,” Ed says. And with that in mind, he began shooting candids and random street scenes between personal projects in Latin American and Afghanistan. This work abroad taught him “how to make oneself invisible and blend in on the street.”

Just a few years ago, Ed rediscovered these black-and-white photos and noticed how different things are now, from the physical buildings to the absence of people reading newspapers. He decided to compile them into a book “Mean Streets: NYC 1970-1985,” which was just released earlier this week and offers a rare look back “at that desolate era captured with the deliberate and elegant eye that propelled Grazda to further success.”

See Edward’s photos here

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Features, photography, The urban lens

The Urban Lens: Documenting NYC’s vanishing ATMs

By Dana Schulz, Fri, October 6, 2017

Ivan Kosnyrev, Unreliable ATM, vanishing ATMs, NYC ATMs

Outside the Lower East Side club Fat Baby

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Ivan Kosnyrev shares photos from his Instagram series Unreliable ATM. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

We recently shared photographer’s before-and-after photos of Tribeca, a project that helped him learn about the history and present evolution of his neighborhood. Having only moved to NYC three years ago from Moscow, Ivan uses his documentary photography as a way to get acclimated with his new home. And when he wants to go outside his home base, he often does so through the lens of his Instagram account Unreliable ATM, which documents the vanishing street ATM. Not only does this disappearance represent changing times and technologies, but it’s a visual reminder of how the city is losing its small businesses and culture. Ahead, Ivan shares some of his favorite ATM photos and talks about his inspiration for the project.

All that, this way

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Features, History, Midtown West, photography, The urban lens

Photography, Penn Station, Art, Zach Gross

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, photographer Zach Gross presents his series “Penn Station.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

The original Penn Station, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece completed by McKim, Mead & White in 1910, evoked the kind of grandeur one would expect upon arriving in one of the greatest cities in the world, complete with a grand facade made of massive Corinthian columns and a 15-story waiting room with a steel and glass roof. This structure was demolished in 1964 and replaced with our present version, lacking any of the architectural merit or civic design of its predecessor. But recent years have sparked a renewed interest in transforming the station into an updated and better functional transit hub, falling under a $1.6 billion plan from Governor Cuomo.

Well aware of both the history and future of Penn Station, photographer Zach Gross recently completed a unique series that layers historic imagery of the site with contemporary photos. He feels that, though the station is currently dysfunctional, “there’s still hope for a grand, more unified and uplifting structure,” and it’s this hopeful sentiment that shines through in his work.

Hear more from Zach and see his photo series

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Features, Lower East Side, photography, The urban lens

Ash Thayer, Ash Thayer Lower East Side Squatters, NYC punk scene 90s, Kill City

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Ash Thayer shares intimate punk portraits of Lower East Side squatters from the 1990s. The photos are part of her collection “KILL CITY,” which was recently compiled into a book and published under the same name.

These days it’s difficult to think of the Lower East Side as much more than a destination for bar hopping, rapidly rising rents, and general raucousness, but not that long ago the neighborhood was a place pulsating with community, character, and openness to all walks: including squatters. One such squatter who found solace in this once distinct downtown enclave was photographer Ash Thayer who came to the city in the early ’90s to enroll at the School of Visual Arts, but after a series of misfortunes (e.g. a shady landlord who stole her security deposit) found herself homeless.

Thayer, however, had always had an affinity with the counterculture community and it didn’t take long for the kids of NYC’s punk scene to lend her a hand. In 1992, she joined the See Skwat, one of several squats she’d ultimately spend eight years living in and documenting. Ahead, Thayer shares some of her emotional photography from her time at See Skwat, and she speaks to 6sqft about her experience living in what she describes as an “important piece of the unknown history of New York.”

more photos inside the squats and of those who lived in them

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Features, Midtown, People, photography, The urban lens

Fifth Avenuers, NYC street photography, Nei Valente, Fifth Avenue NYC

Photos © Nei Valente

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment Brazilian designer and street photographer Nei Valente presents his series “Fifth Avenuers.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Fifth Avenue: the street that divides Manhattan east to west; home to many of the world’s most prestigious museums and famous buildings; high-end shopping destination; the road to Central Park; office district. There’s no one way to describe the thoroughfare, nor is there one type of person associated with it. It’s this vibrancy that branding designer and street photographer Nei Valente set out to capture in his new series “Fifth Avenuers.” Over several months, Nei used his lunch breaks to capture “the unusual mix of tourists, blue- and white-collar professionals, and shoppers,” creating “a visual registry of people and moments from one of the most iconic avenues in the world.” His editorial style and candid technique is not dissimilar from that in “Newsstands,” in which he documented the changing face of newsstands around the city. Ahead, Nei shares all his photos from “Fifth Avenuers” and fills us in on what went on behind the scenes.

Get it all right here

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Features, photography, The urban lens

Dionisio González photographer, Dionisio González architect, Galerie Richard, Dialectical Landscape, Thinking Central Park

Image © Dionisio González

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Spanish artist Dionisio González presents two series of digital photos showcasing Central Park. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Architect and photographer Dionisio González has made a name for himself with his surrealist photo manipulations, which typically combine existing buildings and urban spaces with digitally drawn structures and landscapes. His latest two series take on Central Park and how the city’s giant “void” relates to its surrounding skyscrapers. In his “Thinking Central Park” series, González fills the space with futuristic shelters. Conversely, in the black-and-white series “Dialectical Landscape” he adds empty spaces as aerial extensions of the park for recreation and transportation.

See them all right here

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Features, History, photography, The urban lens, Tribeca

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Ivan Kosnyrev shares before-and-after photos of Tribeca. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

When Ivan Kosnyrev and his partner moved to Tribeca from Russia three years ago, they knew no one. To get themselves acclimated with their new home, they decided their first “friend” should be the city itself. Ivan, a philosopher by education and IT manager by profession, immersed himself in New York City guide books and blogs, getting so well versed that he eventually began giving his friends informal walking tours of the area. And when he discovered the New York Public Library’s OldNYC collection, an interactive map with photos from the 1870s through the 1970s, he decided to embark on a project that he could share with even more people. After selecting a group of archival Tribeca images, he went out and took present-day snapshots of the same locations, providing a neighborhood-specific view of just how much NYC has changed (and in some cases, hasn’t!) over the past 100 years.

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