by Rebecca Weston
Just like last year, the show looks great: beautifully printed, framed and displayed. In the Instagram stories @womenstreetphotographers, Gulnara has been showing the careful preparations like printing and framing the photographs in her New York apartment, and setting up the gallery space. It’s amazing to see the exhibition come to life out of the original Instagram account, to see the well-attended opening and photographers meeting in front of their works on the walls. I’m thrilled to participate in the show as well.
For the first time, this year the exhibition was accompanied by an artist-in-residence program. Photographers were able to apply for that separately, and Valérie Six was the lucky one selected to stay in New York for two weeks. She also had a little solo exhibition within the Women Street Photographers group show.
For this article, I wanted to share some images from the exhibition in random order, but when I saw all the files I couldn’t help but make little repeats as well. I’ve also included short background stories about the photographs.
Looking at Ladies
“I took this picture of Robert Frank outside his Bleecker Street apartment building in May, 2015. He was my neighbor. I’d photographed him several times, even before I knew who he was or what “street photography” meant. But by 2015 I knew: I was quite literally kneeling in front of a legend. Yet even from a ditch by the curb just a few feet from Mr. Frank, I still thought that maybe I could put one over on the maestro and shoot him without getting caught. I took three pictures of him that day. In two of the three he is looking straight at me. This is the third image, when I pretended to be tracking the leggy blond walking past us. Robert Frank’s distraction was my luck, though this is a picture I would have happily kneeled in a hundred ditches to get. I dedicate it to my father, Jay Rick, who died just a few months after Robert Frank.”
“A Drag Queen, struts through The Village Walk, a shopping strip in one of the most exclusive and wealthiest suburbs of Melbourne much to the amusement of the local barber.”
“In Manhattan, the weather doesn’t just come from the sky; but rises up from beneath as well. While the steam that courses through the streets isn’t exactly weather, it turns New York into a city of clouds… even if they are made in Consolidated Edison’s cogeneration plants. New York has been using steam since the 1880’s, and the steam system here is the largest in the country. There are 105 miles of steam pipes slinking beneath the streets, delivering steam to thousands of buildings for everything from heating and cooling to washing dishes and pressing laundry. This photo is from my series City of Clouds, a tribute to the unique beauty that the steam affords; in which the streets become a stage with steam sent forth from below as if on cue. I was admiring one particularly dramatic steam vent when this mystery man appeared, disappeared, appeared, and disappeared again. I managed to get a shot when he was somewhere in the midst of it all.”
“Stacks of smoke are unique to New York City and a constant reminder of what lays below the surface – to this day countless arteries of pipes deliver heat to much of the city. Above the surface, the smoke creates a wonderful filter that I use in my photography to isolate people as well as create a sense of mystery. This photo was taken Midtown on Madison Avenue and I tried to capture the movement of people emerging from the steam. The “headless men” is anonymous, leaving most of the photo’s story to the viewer’s imagination.”
“It was a beautiful summer afternoon. This young woman appeared. She seemed happy. His step was lively and light. I thought she was going to a date.”
“In New York City the hoarding walls surrounding construction sites are typically painted blue or dark green, so imagine my delight when I found this vibrant red wall on 45th Street. When I first discovered it the wall had a fresh and pristine coat of paint, but as always happens in New York it was soon slathered with advertisements. The gorgeous light and peeling posters on this day last October were particularly enticing, and I was lucky enough to catch this woman racing through the scene. Sadly, when I returned to the wall last week, it had been painted black. There was a touch of red lettering, however. It read “Post No Bills.”
Other images from the show
Women Street Photographers exhibition December 12- January 2
Venue: El Barrio’s Artspace PS109
© All the pictures in this post are copyrighted. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.