The urban lens

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Art, Brooklyn, Features, The urban lens

Janice McDonnell waterfront paintings

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites artists to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Janice McDonnell shares some of her paintings of the Brooklyn waterfront. Are you an artist who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

In a city as bustling and overbuilt as New York, it’s easy to forget this metropolis’ roots as a port city, and that all boroughs but the Bronx are islands. The timeless beauty of NYC’s watery surroundings are not lost on artist Janice McDonnell, who has produced a series of paintings of the Brooklyn waterfront. “It started out as just documenting to enjoy myself,” McDonell said. That’s how it started, but the more she got into it from her Dumbo studio, the more the combination of buildings near the broad harbor and their contrast to the sky began to resonate with her. Ahead, see Janice’s paintings and hear all about her inspiration and process.

Dive in

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Features, People, photography, The urban lens

Real People. Real Lives. Women Immigrants of New York., Dru Blumensheid, BUMESI, Queens Museum, New Women New Yorkers

Daniela, from Colombia © Dru Blumensheid

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Dru Blumensheid shares some images from the Queens Museum‘s new exhibit Real People. Real Lives. Women Immigrants of New York. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

“Statistics do not tell the story of immigration. People do. Women do.” This was the impetus behind the new photo and video exhibit at the Queens Museum, “Real People. Real Lives. Women Immigrants of New York.” A partnership between New Women New Yorkers, NYC’s only non-profit dedicated to empowering young immigrant women, and artist Dru Blumensheid aka BUMESI, the exhibit features photos and videos of 16 young immigrant women taken in iconic locations such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Chinatown, all as a way to show “a nuanced and multi-layered picture… of the barriers and isolation they experience, and of the hopes, dreams, and talents they bring with them.”

In celebration of Women’s History Month, 6sqft chatted with Dru Blumensheid about her personal inspiration behind the project, what she learned from the experience, and how she hopes all New Yorkers can benefit from hearing these stories.

Hear from Dru and see her beautiful photos and videos

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Features, History, photography, The urban lens

Pressroom. Numbering cast plates with page numbers for identification.

In September 1942, with humanity in the throes of WWII, one Marjory Collins photographed the inner workings of the New York Times for the U.S. Office of War Information. Her photos depict a culture of white men and machines working at individual tasks for the greater goal of creating the day’s paper. The press printing process shown is a world apart from today’s digital media industry, where so many human jobs have been antiquated by more advanced technology, which is, thankfully, more diverse.

See all the photos

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Features, Harlem, photography, The urban lens

The Urban Lens: Documenting 20 years of Harlem architecture

By Hannah Frishberg, Fri, February 16, 2018

Harlem architecture, Harlem photography, Albert Vecerka

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Albert Vecerka shares some images from his “Harlem project.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

After moving to New York in 1992 and earning a degree in architecture from City College, Yugoslavia-born photographer Albert Vecerka moved to Harlem and started documenting the neighborhood. Originally an attempt to dispel the notion that Harlem was “dangerous,” his “Harlem project,” also captures its architectural fabric and aesthetic changes over time. 6qft recently caught up with Vecerka to hear his thoughts on Harlem–what it was like 20 years ago and why he still calls it home.

See more photos and hear from Albert

Featured Story

Features, photography, The urban lens

Subway Kiss #1 by Matt Weber

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Matt Weber shares his “Urban Romance” 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].

A born-and-bred Upper West Sider, photographer Matt Weber has been watching New York all his life, taking pictures of everything he can. Over the years, he accumulated many photos of love, or at least, public displays of affection. Though people are constantly kissing all over the world, there’s something especially gutsy, memorable, and nonchalantly confident in a subway kiss. For many, a quick peck or a full-on makeout session is among the least desirable things when you’re being crushed like a sardine, underground, in a moving metal tube. Yet, New Yorkers do it constantly – a documented fact.

Just in time for the most romantic day of the year, we had a chance to talk with Matt Weber about his photography, his “Urban Romance” series, and how New York has changed since he started capturing it.

See all the photos

Featured Story

Features, Harlem, History, 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, Katsu Naito shares his 1990s portraits from Harlem. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

In 1983, when Katsu Naito immigrated to America at the age of 18, he spoke barely any English. Growing up in Maebashi, a small city about 90 miles north of Tokyo, he had never heard of Harlem before moving to New York but was drawn to the energy of the neighborhood, quickly realizing he wanted to document it with his camera. Now, more three decades since he first fell in love with Harlem, Naito’s photos of the ‘nabe’s residents in the early to mid-‘90ss are being published in a book and unintentional time capsule titled “Once in Harlem,” out now from TBW Books. 6sqft chatted with Naito about his journey and what makes Harlem so special to him, and he shared a collection of his amazing images.

See them all here

Featured Story

Features, photography, The urban lens

NYC aerial photography, Jeffrey Milstein, New York from above, Leaning out

5th Avenue/Midtown. Photo © Jeffrey Milstein

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

In New York, it’s typical for tourists to look up and ogle the skyscrapers, while locals generally walk head down towards the pavement. So who then, is stereotyped as looking down upon the city from above? Gods, pilots, and photographers are among the limited answer options, and Jeffrey Milstein checks two of these boxes. He’s extensively photographed both aerial shots of cities and the aircrafts that allow him to do so.

Milstein’s series of NYC photos, “Leaning Out,” makes the city out to be more pattern than people. From his height, New York becomes a series of shapes, some quickly recognizable – the leafy expanse of Central Park, the top of a Macy’s Day float – others less so – the cheery tops of Coney Island’s amusements, the map-like expanse of the American Museum of Natural History. 6sqft got a chance to chat with Milstein about the surreal experience of capturing New York from the sky and his new exhibit at the Benrubi Gallery, which features his aerial shots of both New York and LA and opens tonight.

Lean out

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City Living, Features, photography, Restaurants, The urban lens

Diners of NYC, Riley Arthur, Diner photography

Metro Diner on Broadway and 100th Street

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Riley Arthur documents NYC’s vanishing diners. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

“There’s no comparison to a New York diner experience,” says photographer Riley Arthur, which is what led her to start documenting all of the establishments throughout the five boroughs. Though she recently moved from Astoria to Florida, over the past two-and-a-half years she’s photographed roughly 215 diners (“I’ve lost count,” she says), usually hitting 10-12 a day and ordering a matzo ball soup at each! Since she began, at least a dozen diners have closed, usually due to rising rents, but Riley still has about 60 left to photograph. She shares her journey on the popular Instagram account Diners of NYC, where you’ll see everything from the faux-stone and shiny metal facades to the greasy bacon and eggs to the massive plastic menus to the neon signs and leather banquettes. Riley shared a set of her snapshots with 6sqft and filled us in on her process and favorite spots.

See Riley’s photos here

Featured Story

Features, History, The urban lens

MLK Day, Martin Luther King Jr., MCNY

Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dr. King and Monsignor Rice of Pittsburgh march in the Solidarity Day Parade at the United Nations building (April 15, 1967);Photo by Benedict J. Fernadez, courtesy of MCNY

The Museum of the City of New York on Saturday will launch King in New York, a photo exhibition that explores the relationship between Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and New York City. The collection, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of King’s death, provides a look into the iconic civil rights leader’s time spent in the city, starting in the 1950s and continuing through the aftermath of his assassination in 1986. New York, as the country’s media capital, allowed MLK to broadcast his words and messages to both local and global audiences, hold national press conferences and speak to influential advocacy and political groups. He gave sermons at the Riverside Church in Morningside Heights and marched to the United Nations in protest against the Vietnam war. Following his death, thousands of New Yorkers marched in Harlem and Midtown to a Central Park concert to mourn together and the city named parks, playgrounds and streets in his honor. King in New York will be on view from Saturday, Jan. 13 to June 1, 2018.

Explore MLK’s New York City connection

Featured Story

Features, photography, The urban lens, Williamsburg

Sweet Ruin, Paul Raphaelson, Domino Sugar Factory

All photos © Paul Raphaelson

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Paul Raphaelson takes us through the Domino Sugar Factory before its redevelopment got underway. 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 term “ruin porn” was born out of generations of street photographers venturing into neglected, decaying, and off-limits spaces, but today it’s become more of a mainstream trend to fluff one’s Instagram feed. So when Brooklyn-based artist Paul Raphaelson received the chance in 2013 to be the last photographer allowed into the then-abandoned Domino Sugar Factory, he knew he didn’t want his project to simply “estheticize surfaces while ignoring the underlying history.”

His stunning photos of the 135-year-old structure still “capture the sublime sense of spectacle,” but they also accompany archival maps, newspaper clippings, corporate documents, and even interviews with former Domino Sugar Factory employees, all of which come together in his new book “Brooklyn’s Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery.” Raphaelson shared his stunning images with us and also shared his thoughts on “urban exploration,” his process in compiling a comprehensive history of Domino, and his thoughts on the recently approved plans for the site.

See all Paul’s photos

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