The urban lens

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Architecture, Features, photography, The urban lens, Urban Design

trel brock, Sixth Avenue near 50th Street

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, Trel Brock redefines the city through double exposures in medium format. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Trel Brock moved to New York City nearly four decades ago and he’s been photographing every angle of it since. While much of Trel’s work today centers on high-end interiors (he’s currently working on his third book with Rizzoli), in the past he spent his days assisting photography’s upper echelon—including Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber and Eric Boman, to name a few—shooting world-famous rockstars and supermodels. But beyond the borders of high-fashion and high-society, Trel also dabbles in fine art photography. In the series he’s curated for 6sqft ahead, he uses the city’s landscape as a vehicle for an abstract visual exercise akin to Rorschach’s famous inkblots.

more photos here

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Bushwick, Features, photography, The urban lens

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 photographer Meryl Meisler documents the current artists and creatives of Bushwick. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Earlier this year, TIME included Meryl Meisler on their list of “the greatest unsung female photographers of the past century,” not surprising considering the great success she’s had with her first monograph, “Disco Era Bushwick: A Tale of Two Cities,” which documents the glam/gritty 1970s and ‘80s (more on that here). Now, after more than 40 years, she realized that Bushwick won’t always be the artistic hub she’s come to know and love, and therefore needed documentation. In her new exhibition “Bushwick Chronicle” (on view at Stout Projects until October 30th) she returns to her analog roots of printing in the dark room to display photos of “the artists, gallerists, journalists, and organizers of Bushwick.” These images are paired with her illustrative painted photographs of Bushwick from the 1980s, as well as writer and art critic James Panero‘s musings on the area.

Get an inside look at Bushwick Chronicle

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City Living, Features, photography, The urban lens

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 Brooklyn resident Attis Clopton offers us a look at his stunning portraits. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

If you ask Attis Clopton what his day job is, he’d quickly respond “musician.” However, the drummer, who’s travelled the world recording and performing, would be remiss not to mention his impressive photography skills. Though not formally trained, Attis has developed an eye and the ability to capture subjects in a way that many professional photographers struggle with throughout their career. But what may set Attis apart from his contemporaries is his openness, his curiosity and his unpretentious disposition, all of which help him lock into the moment and keep his photos from looking overthought or overdone. Ahead he shares some of his recent favorites with 6sqft.

more this way

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Features, Lower East Side, photography, The urban lens

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, photographer Bob Estremera documents the historic buildings and businesses of the Lower East Side. 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 Bob lived briefly on the Lower East Side in 2011, he loved “walking its crumbling sidewalks and admiring it’s equally crumbling architecture.” But the neighborhood’s gentrification was already underway: “Tucked away among the little stores, restaurants, apartments and barber shops, upscale boutique restaurants were making themselves felt with prices and menus that could only be supported from clientele outside the neighborhood,” he describes. So he decided to return to the LES and capture what he feels is the area’s essence. In this resulting black-and-white series, he turns our attention to vestiges of the early days, “the decayed store fronts and once proud architecture and businesses that have vanished and others still clinging barely to life.”

Hear more from Bob and see all the photos

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

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, award-winning authors and photographers James and Karla Murray introduce us to the faces and food vendors that make up the 2016 Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

2016 marks the 90th anniversary of the Feast of San Gennaro, which is held in the “Little Italy” neighborhood of lower Manhattan from Thursday, September 15 through Sunday, September 25th. The Feast is an 11-day salute to the Patron Saint of Naples, Saint Januaries, and it is the longest and most popular street fair in New York City (anticipated to bring in one million tourists and New Yorkers this year).

Little Italy was once known for its large population of Italian immigrants and is now centered on Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal Streets. Italians first began to settle in the area during the 1850s, but by the 1960s, wealthy Italians began to move out and Chinese merchants for the first time began to move north of Canal Street—the traditional boundary between Chinatown and Little Italy. Observing the changes in the neighborhood, Italian merchants and restaurateurs formed an association dedicated to maintaining Mulberry Street north of Canal as an all-Italian enclave, which it still largely remains.

Ahead we document some of the longtime New Yorkers, tourists, and decades-old Italian vendors who’ve added their own flavor to this year’s festivities.

our account and more photos here

Featured Story

Features, History, photography, The urban lens

The Luncheonette, Privilege Signs, James and Karla Murray, disappearing storefronts, NYC mom and pops

6sqft’s new series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In the first installment, award-winning authors and photographers James and Karla Murray brought us 15 years of images documenting the changing storefronts of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. Now they share more amazing images, this time of privilege signs, an industry term for the promotional signs installed by large corporations on storefronts. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on 6sqft? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Privilege Signs are an industry term for the promotional signs installed by large corporations such as Coca-Cola and the Optimo Cigar Company. They were popular in the 1930s through 1960s and received their name because store owners were given the “privilege” of completing the signs with their own copy. Large companies benefited from the signs because they were an easy way of weaving a marketing campaign right into a building’s façade. The signs were not only given free to store owners, but they also brought people into the store with instant brand recognition.

Today, they read retro and antique, standing out as a testament to a business’ ability to endure even in the face of the monumental challenges in a city known for its rapid pace of change. When compiling our books on disappearing storefronts, we were immediately drawn to facades that still had these type of signs, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorites ahead.

See all the photos ahead

Featured Story

Features, gentrification, Greenwich Village, History, photography, The urban lens

O. OTTOMANELLI & SONS PRIME MEAT MARKET, NYC signage

6sqft’s new series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. To kick things off, award-winning authors and photographers James and Karla Murray bring us 15 years of images documenting the changing storefronts of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on 6sqft? Get in touch with us at [email protected]

Bleecker Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue South was once a huge Italian enclave with many traditional “mom and pop” stores catering to the large Italian families who resided in the neighborhood. By the late 1930s, it also had a significant bohemian population with many artists, writers, poets and musicians living in the area who set up galleries, coffee houses and music shops. Due to widespread gentrification and escalating real-estate values, the neighborhood has changed drastically and its unique appearance and character is suffering.

We are here to take you on visual tour to experience how many of the truly authentic shops remain on this venerable Greenwich Village street, and to show you what has replaced the ones that have vanished. Many of the shops you’ll encounter ahead have been featured with full-color photographs and insightful interviews with the store owners in three of our widely acclaimed books on the subject, but we’ve also rounded up several more ahead.

Walk the Greenwich Village of yesteryear and present

Featured Story

Features, Greenwich Village, photography, The urban lens, West Village 

Bob Estremera, NYC architectural photography, black-and-white photography, Greenwich Village photos

When we talk about the allure of Greenwich Village, we’re often referring to it in past tense, reminiscing about the good old days of folk music, ridiculously cheap apartments for artists, and the free-spirited bohemians that transformed the enclave into a cultural hub. And when we do talk about the Village in present tense, it’s often because we’re examining gentrification, whining about those pesky NYU students, or looking at the ever-rising rents.

But if we stop feeling bitter about the fact that we can’t get a $600/month studio there anymore, the Village still has plenty of charming and quirky storefronts, buildings, and characters. Photographer Bob Estremera captured this essence of the neighborhood in an impromptu rainy-day photo shoot that reminds us to take the time to look around and appreciate the small things.

See all the amazing black-and-white photos here

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