Neil O. Lawner
The New York Character: A gallery-wide show exploring the energy, eccentricities and eccentrics that give New York City its unique character.
EXHIBITION DATES: June 7 – July 1, 2017
OPENING RECEPTION: Tuesday, June 6, 2017, from 6pm to 8pm. All are very welcome.
The energy of the city, the density of crowds, is what inspires my various "people walking" photographs. For this series, I am in motion as well as my subjects. I am as much as I dare walking head-on into my subjects as they approach me. I use a normal or slightly wide-angle lens, so I am only several feet away from my subjects at the "moment of impact". For some reason I find this exhilarating, maybe because I am by nature a shy person; this is not something I would have been bold enough to do in my younger years. It is no accident that I mostly shoot these pictures in Times Square or on Canal Street... as these are amongst the most pedestrian dense areas of the city. Crossing intersections is the most fruitful, as people are (rightfully) focusing on getting to the other side and maybe not so focused on their cell phones (or on the strange woman coming towards them). I am responding to people as moving shapes, as abstractions. I may be capturing the liveliness of humanity, but I do not want any picture to be "about the person". I want my people to be anonymous and to represent us all. So if anyone were to stop me, I'd explain that the picture I just took of them really isn't about them at all.