Houston Street, New York City
New York, New York, USA October 21, 2009
So I was shooting for my Magnum workshop slideshow presentation. I had been walking the streets day and night when I wasn't in a group class or attending a lecture from Bruce Gilden, Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris-Webb. A fantastic workshop with a diverse and fascinating group of people, inspiration was in every corner of Milk Studios.
I was running out of steam and decided to get a slice of pizza at Ray's on Houston Street. I hadn't really gotten any shots I was happy with and sitting in an empty pizza joint did not seem like I was going to be doing more than chewing pepperoni. The slice was good and I was turning things over in my mind. What street should I go down? How much sunlight was there going to be left in the day? The shadows were getting long and I was worried and a bit bummed out.
As I was into the final row of pepperoni just before the crust a few customers came in. One young couple sat right in front of me and they were not as into the pizza as much as I was. They were really into each other and all kisses, giggles and smiles. The sunlight was just turning into the golden hour where there was a glow in the shop and the couple's faces were lit up and just what my camera and I were looking for.
I struck up conversation and told them what I was doing in town and wondered if they wanted to see my little photo book of my daughters in Japan. They really liked the photos and there was an immediate comfort between the three of us. I suggested we take a few minutes to go to the front of Chinatown YMCA where there was a wild looking mural and try taking a few shots.
I wanted to capture the energy they had in Ray's Pizza and it took no time for them to get comfortable and forget that I was there. Boom, I have some shots to choose from and happily sent them to Danielle, our model of the day. The whole day turned around in a matter of minutes and the three of us were rather pleased with ourselves.
My presentation went well, the shot above was the highlight and earned me some high fives and a couple hugs from my favourite Magnum photographers. Does it get better than that?
If you talk to me about New York, this is one of the things I think of. I have found better pizza joints than Ray's but I am still on the lookout for more models.