Monday, 5 November 2012

POV: I Just Couldn't Do It....

Photo Iwan Baan for New York Magazine

I tried but my heart wasn't in it. It's that simple. It might surprise many of my readers and peers...but that's the truth.

I didn't want to photograph "my" New York City neighborhood suffering in the aftermath of Sandy...I'm not that kind of photographer. I never photograph the homeless...the down and out...the infirm...who frequently walk the streets of New York City...or  anywhere else in the world.

I don't have that type of photography in me. It doesn't appeal to me. I recall going to lower Manhattan two or three days after 9.11, and returning home not having made a single frame. I just couldn't do it.

Sebastiao Salgado is quoted as having said "If you take a picture of a human that does not make him noble, there is no reason to take this picture. That is my way of seeing things." Perhaps the word 'noble' in his statement is a little too much, but documenting misery, human misfortunes and other disasters, just doesn't appeal to me.

And I felt that photographing my neighborhood, its restaurants, its stores and its people in the storm's immediate aftermath was an intrusion...why would I document its pain and discomfort? That's not what I do.

Now that it is recovering, and there's a smile on the faces of its residents, I might return to my neighborhood's streets.

I did photograph in the past few days, but I looked for the quotidien, the commonplace...and I found it north of 30th Street.

Of course, no such thing as quotidien exists in New York City...but you know what I mean.