I feel like New Yorkers can’t help but be voyeurs.
No matter where you are in the city, you always have the opportunity to peek into other peoples’ lives. At work, I can wave to office workers in other buildings and look longingly uponВ outdoor roofdeck terraces. While walking, I can peep enviously into stately brownstones or check out the decor in glassy, ultra-modern apartments. A few times at ballet, I’ve been momentarily distracted (or almost knocked off balance) from catching a glimpse of someone’s TV in an apartment across the way.
And I wonder if my neighbors across the way know my habits–like coming home late most nights, eating dinner on my living room floor, then spending an hour or so on my laptop. (Although close proximity can be a good thing. I once locked myself in my bathroom and had to scream out my window until a very nice woman in another building heard, spoke to me from her window and got my super to rescue me.)
So I love the concept of the gorgeous book,В “Out My Window.”В PhotographerВ Gail Albert Halaban shot New Yorkers through various windows around the city. It’s a beautiful collection of what we New Yorkers do every day. As Halaban so nicely describes it on her blog:
I have found that many New Yorkers spend much of their window gazing time looking into their neighbor’s apartments. Through this voyeurism, form a sense of community. We are never alone here in New York.
Are you also guilty of peering into your neighbors’ windows?
The travel photos that you tend to show off usually feature the highlights of a trip–I know mine are usually of me standing on the summit of a mountain, a gorgeous vista I drove hours to see, an amazing meal before anyone’s taken a bite. But the time I spent in a car/train/plane to reach that place? I could probably count those photos on two hands.
In her gorgeous series, “Transit,” German photographer Katrin KoenningВ captures those quiet moments before travelers reach their destinations–those times where they’re sleeping upright in airplane seats, dozing in cars, spacing out through subway windows.
According to Koenning:
Transit documents people on journeys. While travelling, you hear laughter and bits of stories in amongst the monotonous sighing of the train or the mourning sound of an aching ship. Mostly, you hear silence. By fate, destiny or chance, strangers are thrown together for a short while, forced to share an intimate space. There is a quiet comfort in sitting back and watching the world fly by.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the series:
Yesterday, as I was about to venture out into a soggy NYC evening–sans umbrella, of course–an art exhibit I’d seen photos of popped into my head.
In ГЃgueda, Portugal, rows of colorful umbrellas hang over a walkway creating a whimsical, rainbow canopy. The installation is part of the AgitaguedaВ art festival. I wish I could take a stroll beneath it (on a sunny day, of course)!
NewYork-now, a website I came across via Gothamist,В is both cool and nauseating. As in, it literally gave me motion sickness.
Using geotags, the site displays InstagramВ photos that New Yorkers take in real-time. There are snapshots of iconic places (the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty) interspersed with local landmarks (the big pig outside Rudy’s in Hell’s Kitchen), lots of food shots, funny signs, self-portraits and more.
I love how the siteВ provides a minute-by-minute look at what people find worth documenting in this city. But something about the way the photos appear made me a little dizzy.
Check it out here–but maybe take a Dramamine first!
(Photo above by me–I actually couldn’t save a large enough image from the site!)
Here’s a Kickstarter I wish I had gotten in on earlier: On June 1, Brooklyn-based photogs Andrew Kenney and Jake Jones took off on 3-month road trip through each of the lower 48 states. Along the way, they’re shooting lots of pictures and printing and sending postcards from each state to the people who backed them via Kickstarter.
While it’s too late to sign up to receive postcards now, you can follow their journey and see their gorgeous photos on their website and Facebook page. Here’s a sampling:
You can also preorder sets of blank postcards–which they’ll ship to you in September, once they’re back in NYC after their journey.
The Olympics start tomorrow and I’m so excited. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I never watch sports. But every two years, I find myself glued to the Olympics, watching and reading about athletes and events that I could care less about at any other time.
I’m not lucky enough to be in London during the Games, but if I were, I’d definitely check out the new LomoWall at the Museum of London. The mosaic spans more than 213 feet and is comprised of nearly 30,000 photos that amateur photographers from around the world shot on film. (Yup, actual film!) The theme was “inspiring and achieving in London’s Olympic Year” and includes images of Britain’s Paraolympians training for the games.
870,000 city photographs–some 150+ years old–are now available at nyc.gov
Curious about what kinds of photos were online, I went to the siteВ and learned this:В Between 1939 and 1941, and again between 1983 and 1988, the city photographed every building in the five boroughs for tax purposes. You can now purchase prints–or just sift through the online archives of 35mm photos taken in the 1980s.
I clicked on the Manhattan photos and searched for my current Washington Heights apartment. The archive contained photos of neighboring residences, but not mine.
Then I looked up my second-most recent address, also in Washington Heights. This time, a snapshot of my old building came up.
I’ll admit that the result didn’t wow me. The building is from 1929 and looks pretty much the same now as it did in the ’80s.
So I decided to go way back. I clicked over to the Queens photos and typed in the street where I lived from when I was born until I was 10. As the photos appeared, I instantly recognized old neighbors’ homes. And there was the house I grew up in, looking exactly how I remembered, with my family’s blue Volvo and my dad’s black van in the driveway.
I haven’t lived there in nearly two decades, so seeing the house exactly as it was felt surreal–a pretty cool (and slightly creepy) discovery!