Nightlife photography: Cool New York photographers

Feast your eyes on some of NYC’s best nightlife photography, and hear from the people behind the lens.

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  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

  • Photograph: Nicky Digital

Photograph: Nicky Digital


Nicky Digital (nickydigital.com)

Before completely adopting his professional persona (the nickname arose from being the new-media person in a dorm suite of writing majors), Nicky Digital was the art director at the now-defunct magazine Radar. His first shooting gig in New York was at the SoulPusher party at the Delancey in 2005, in exchange for three drink tickets. “Within a month, I was working every single night,” he says.

His approach
“I have my camera with me, so just the gesture of lifting it up and making eye contact—there’s already that initial conversation. I really try not to photograph the stuff you wouldn’t want to remember.”

On his website
“For me, my audience and the people who come to the site every day, they’re my livelihood, and they’re my friends, and they are the people who I’ve been documenting for years. I don’t ever want anyone to feel alienated. I do make a living off it, but never off embarrassing someone. The living I make is because people enjoy it and come and see the photos. It is collaborative.”

His tips for shooting nightlife
“There’s two schools of thought: There are people who are involved in the event, and then there are people who are sent on assignment to go to the event. I like to think of myself as documenting the world that I live in. At the end of the day, you can tell what the difference in the photos is.”

“Get in close and have conversations with people. I like to think of it as a really quick interview. You approach them. The most important part is to make sure that the people want to be photographed. And once you have that initial interaction, it should be a playful experience for everyone.”

His favorite events to shoot
“I like shooting bands, especially when you can shoot a band a bunch of times, because it’s almost like you become a member. [You think,] ‘Oh, I know what he’s about to do when he walks through the stage over there,’ and you can get your money shot.”

“Steve Aoki is really fun to shoot because he’s crowd-surfing in a raft and throwing cakes at people.”

“There are some people who have amazing light shows. Deadmau5 has an incredible light show. Boyz Noize too. I just shot him recently. His music and stage setup was huge and ridiculous, but there was something about it that was classy and well-thought-out. All of his samples were triggering the lighting on the stage. It’s nice when the DJ is actually controlling the full experience.”

“I love shooting festivals, too. I actually get more time with artists because everyone is usually staying overnight and hanging out backstage.”



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