Some cool Best Smartphone images:
New Yorkers prefer to look cool and stylish, and just pretend they can read their smartphone …
Image by Ed Yourdon
This was taken at the corner of Christopher & Bedford Street in Greenwich Village.
Note: this photo was published in a Feb 23, 2015 blog titled "Ignore your FOMO — missing out can be a good thing." It was also published in an Apr 30, 2015 blog titled "La era post-PC es más real que nunca: más usuarios sólo-móvil que sólo-escritorio en EEUU." And it was published in a May 11,2015 blog titled "Business Insider is hiring gadget-obsessed editors and reporters." It was also published in a May 30, 2015 blog titled "Selfie PSA."
This set of photos is based on a very simple concept: walk every block of Manhattan with a camera, and see what happens. To avoid missing anything, walk both sides of the street.
That’s all there is to it …
Of course, if you wanted to be more ambitious, you could also walk the streets of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. But that’s more than I’m willing to commit to at this point, and I’ll leave the remaining boroughs of New York City to other, more adventurous photographers.
Oh, actually, there’s one more small detail: leave the photos alone for a month — unedited, untouched, and unviewed. By the time I actually focus on the first of these "every-block" photos, I will have taken more than 8,000 images on the nearby streets of the Upper West Side — plus another several thousand in Rome, Coney Island, and the various spots in NYC where I traditionally take photos. So I don’t expect to be emotionally attached to any of the "every-block" photos, and hope that I’ll be able to make an objective selection of the ones worth looking at.
As for the criteria that I’ve used to select the small subset of every-block photos that get uploaded to Flickr: there are three. First, I’ll upload any photo that I think is "great," and where I hope the reaction of my Flickr-friends will be, "I have no idea when or where that photo was taken, but it’s really a terrific picture!"
A second criterion has to do with place, and the third involves time. I’m hoping that I’ll take some photos that clearly say, "This is New York!" to anyone who looks at it. Obviously, certain landscape icons like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty would satisfy that criterion; but I’m hoping that I’ll find other, more unexpected examples. I hope that I’ll be able to take some shots that will make a "local" viewer say, "Well, even if that’s not recognizable to someone from another part of the country, or another part of the world, I know that that’s New York!" And there might be some photos where a "non-local" viewer might say, "I had no idea that there was anyplace in New York City that was so interesting/beautiful/ugly/spectacular."
As for the sense of time: I remember wandering around my neighborhood in 2005, photographing various shops, stores, restaurants, and business establishments — and then casually looking at the photos about five years later, and being stunned by how much had changed. Little by little, store by store, day by day, things change … and when you’ve been around as long as I have, it’s even more amazing to go back and look at the photos you took thirty or forty years ago, and ask yourself, "Was it really like that back then? Seriously, did people really wear bell-bottom jeans?"
So, with the expectation that I’ll be looking at these every-block photos five or ten years from now (and maybe you will be, too), I’m going to be doing my best to capture scenes that convey the sense that they were taken in the year 2013 … or at least sometime in the decade of the 2010’s (I have no idea what we’re calling this decade yet). Or maybe they’ll just say to us, "This is what it was like a dozen years after 9-11".
Movie posters are a trivial example of such a time-specific image; I’ve already taken a bunch, and I don’t know if I’ll ultimately decide that they’re worth uploading. Women’s fashion/styles are another obvious example of a time-specific phenomenon; and even though I’m definitely not a fashion expert, I suspected that I’ll be able to look at some images ten years from now and mutter to myself, "Did we really wear shirts like that? Did women really wear those weird skirts that are short in the front, and long in the back? Did everyone in New York have a tattoo?"
Another example: I’m fascinated by the interactions that people have with their cellphones out on the street. It seems that everyone has one, which certainly wasn’t true a decade ago; and it seems that everyone walks down the street with their eyes and their entire conscious attention riveted on this little box-like gadget, utterly oblivious about anything else that might be going on (among other things, that makes it very easy for me to photograph them without their even noticing, particularly if they’ve also got earphones so they can listen to music or carry on a phone conversation). But I can’t help wondering whether this kind of social behavior will seem bizarre a decade from now … especially if our cellphones have become so miniaturized that they’re incorporated into the glasses we wear, or implanted directly into our eyeballs.
Oh, one last thing: I’ve created a customized Google Map to show the precise details of each day’s photo-walk. I’ll be updating it each day, and the most recent part of my every-block journey will be marked in red, to differentiate it from all of the older segments of the journey, which will be shown in blue. You can see the map, and peek at it each day to see where I’ve been, by clicking on this link
URL link to Ed’s every-block progress through Manhattan
If you have any suggestions about places that I should definitely visit to get some good photos, or if you’d like me to photograph you in your little corner of New York City, please let me know. You can send me a Flickr-mail message, or you can email me directly at ed-at-yourdon-dot-com
Stay tuned as the photo-walk continues, block by block …
You think you’re good at online Scrabble? Well, I just put «syzygy» on the board — see if you can beat that!
Image by Ed Yourdon
This is a continuation of a series of subway photos that I began in 2009-2010, which you can find here and here on Flickr, and which I’ve continued — on a station-by-station basis — in 2011. The photos in this set were taken in the 116th Street (Pennsylvania Station) IRT station (Columbia University), on the uptown platform, in January 2011.
Note: this photo was published in an undated (Jan 29, 2011) Everyblock NYC zipcodes blog titled "10027."
Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Jan 5, 2012 blog titled "Tecnoesclavos." It was also published in a May 25, 2012 blog titled "The Omnibus Roundup – Seward Park, Mayoral Race Transit Talk, Harvesting Methane and Studying Smart Phones."
Moving into 2014, the photo was published in an Apr 24, 2014 blog titled "Si Puó Vivere Senza Smartphoe? Ci provo con quest nova #Sfida30Giorni," as well as a blog titled "Mars Express, Phobos and the occult … ation." It was also published in an Aug 11, 2014 blog titled "Your Phone’s Hardware Can Reveal Your Identity Even If Your Data Is Safe."
Over the years, I’ve seen various photos of the NYC subway "scene," usually in a relatively grim, dark, black-and-white format. But during a spring 2009 class on street photography at the NYC International Center of Photography (ICP), I saw lots and lots of terrific subway shots taken by my fellow classmates … so I was inspired to start taking some myself.
One of the reasons I rarely, if ever, took subway photos before 2009 is that virtually every such photo I ever saw was in black-and-white. I know that some people are fanatics about B/W photography as a medium; and I respect their choice. And I took quite a lot of B/W photographs of my own in the late 60s and early 70s, especially when I had my own little makeshift darkroom for printing my own photos.
But for most of the past 40 years, I’ve focused mostly on color photography. As for photos of subways, I don’t feel any need to make the scene look darker and grimier than it already is, by restricting it to B/W. Indeed, one of the things I find quite intriguing is that there is a lot of color in this environment, and it’s not too hard to give some warmth and liveliness to the scene…
To avoid disruption, and to avoid drawing attention to myself, I’m not using flash shots; but because of the relatively low level of lighting, I’m generally using an ISO setting of 3200 or 6400, depending on which camera I’m using. As a result, some of the shots are a little grainy — but it’s a compromise that I’m willing to make.
Thus far in 2011, I’ve been using a small, compact "pocket" camera == the Canon G-12 — in contrast to the somewhat large, bulky Nikon D300 and D700 DSLRs that I used predominately in 2009 anbd 2010. If I’m photographing people on the other side of the tracks in a subway station, there’s no problem holding up the camera, composing the shot, and taking it in full view of everyone. But if I’m taking photos inside a subway car or photos of people on the same side of the platform where I’m standing, I normally set the camera lens to a wide angle (18mm or 24mm) setting, point it in the general direction of the subject(s), and shoot without framing or composing.
What I find most interesting about the scenes photographed here is how isolated most people seem to be. Of course, there are sometimes couples, or families, or groups of school-children; but by far the most common scene is an individual standing alone, waiting for a train to arrive. He or she may be reading a book, or listening to music, or (occasionally) talking to someone on a cellphone; but often they just stare into space, lost in their own thoughts. Some look happy, some look sad; but the most common expression is a blank face and a vacant stare. It’s almost as if people go into a state of suspended animation when they descend underground into the subway — and they don’t resume their normal expression, behavior, and mannerisms until they emerge back above-ground at the end of their ride.
Anyway, this is what it looks like down underground … or at least, this is what it’s like in the stations I’ve visited and photographed so far. If I feel energetic enough in 2011, maybe I’ll try to photograph people in every subway station. It would be interesting to see what kind of variety can be seen…