Sunday, 19 September 2021

The Buzz In Photographing Strangers

On most days, I've been spending about 2 hours trawling for interesting faces in Washington Square Park; which has become (more than ever I believe) a go-to gathering spot in Lower Manhattan for countless of people. They come to the site to socialize, be seen, see others, skateboard, smoke weed (now legal), sit around talking to strangers while appreciating the buskers.

I've been walking around the central fountain, and realized quite early on that the regulars form a sort of community; an eco-system of tightly knit friends or acquaintances, who see each other on a daily basis and look after each other in case of trouble. Some are occasionally ticketed by the NYPD for music amplification and/or selling stuff (candle in the shape of dildos amongst those) without having a table.

That said, many people come to Washington Square Park with the expectation of being photographed, and are quite happy accepting posing requests by roving photographers. Some are passers-by, others are photogenic vendors, others come to be seen and looked at...the list is long.

I make it a point to ask for the names of the people I ask to pose for my cameras...and for their Instagram "handles" so I can later send them copies of the photographs. I always hold to my promise and they have their copies within a day or two.

Through this exercise, I am introduced -albeit very briefly-  to a variety of different backgrounds, different physiognomies, different styles and different ethnicities...which all are part and parcel of New York City's character and uniqueness. And that's the "buzz".

The Phoenix | Washington Square Park

He and his group of friends were sitting on one of the stone benches in Washington Square Park, but the sunlight was too I waited...