Photograph: Sam Horine
We live in one of the most inspiring cities in the world. Need proof? Just check out these amazing snaps by NYC photographers. And if you’ve got the shutterbug bug, check out the city’s top
camera stores, as well as the best views in NYC and some super photogenic New York attractions.
Mel D. Cole: The street-life eye
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@meldcole, @homelessworld, meldcole.com
Cole’s stills are moving images. The photographer captures New York’s hip-hop culture, both behind the scenes and in the middle of the action. “I take my camera into mosh pits and even stage-dove while taking shots,” says Cole of his oft-frenetic photos. “Yes, I dance on the job—my pictures come from feeling the energy at the show.” Besides working with outlets like Complex and
RollingStone.com, he was hired by rap group the Roots as a documentarian and, this spring, he’s putting his spin on streetwear through a line with Umbro.
But Questlove may not be Cole’s most vital subject: He’s been lensing “Homeless World,” a project of stark intensity that shines a spotlight on a largely ignored community. “I would be leaving venues and parties at four in the morning and seeing this other, grimy New York that everybody just walks by,” he says of its impetus. “People make the city. New Yorkers give off a special attitude—both positive and negative—and it makes us and my photos fucking amazing.” —
Rocky Rakovic ↓“I love an overcast day. I shot this at a park in Brooklyn, using the weather as my clean background.” Photograph: Mel D. Cole Photograph: Mel D. Cole ↑ Back to top
Sam Horine: The urban romantic
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When he arrived in NYC in 2001, Sam Horine explored the city by wandering the streets and capturing photos, just like a lot of New Yorkers. His inquisitive eye is one in a million, though, transforming small urban scenes that many of us may overlook into something more like poetic paintings. “I’m always looking to capture a story in one frame,” says Horine.
“I feel like New York has changed so much in the past 17 years,” he remarks, adding that he hopes “these photos are timeless images of the city.” Timeless, yes, but Horine’s pictures also carry a hint of melancholy that may have you missing NYC, even if you’re standing smack-dab in the middle of it. —
Will Gleason ↓“This was Chinese New Year. My friend has an apartment right there, with windows all around that open right up onto the parade. It was nice being part of the madness but also away from it, so you have more perspective.” Photograph: Sam Horine Photograph: Sam Horine ↑ Back to top
Photograph: Delphine Diallo Delphine Diallo: The wonder woman
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To visual artist Delphine Diallo, women are superhuman, and she uses her deeply personal portraits and powerful ensembles to elevate them to goddesses. “I’m creating a vision for women to thrive within their own dreams,” says Diallo, originally from France. For her current photo project, “Women of New York” (which she plans to publish as a book), she blindly casted 89 Brooklyn women through a social media query, shooting their portraits without ever before laying eyes on them and asking each the same question: What’s your dream?
The women all had different answers, but freedom (“To be free of worry,” “Freedom for all,” “To have free will to live, love, be,” to quote a few of her subjects) was a common thread. “I realized how much women want to express themselves as wise beings,” says Diallo. “I’m capturing an army of women ready to change the world.” —
Jillian Anthony ↓“This woman represents the struggle of all women to project themselves in a patriarchal society. She is the reconciliation between the Western world and the African continent— my French and Senegalese roots merged into one psyche of the universe.” Photograph: Delphine Diallo Photograph: Delphine Diallo ↑ Back to top
Photograph: Serichai Traipoom Serichai Traipoom: The party paparazzo
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An all-night rager changed Traipoom’s life. Five years ago, he was mainly doing studio photography when a DJ friend asked if he would be interested in shooting one of his parties. “I liked the puzzle of trying to apply studio techniques to a nightlife setting and the challenge of trying to elevate it,” says the 29-year-old. Now, he’s the go-to photographer for the city’s hottest queer nightlife at events like China Chalet’s Heaven on Earth and Ladyfag’s Battle Hymn.
As he’s watched the New York scene evolve and become wilder, crazier and more elaborate, he’s attempted to maintain a stripped-down, documentary-style aesthetic. “I’m always looking for moments—the right moment that is happening,” he says. “And the only way to capture that is to just run around, all night, constantly.”—
Will Gleason ↓“Greg Krelenstein [left, with choker] was deejaying the Heaven on Earth: Lady Gaga edition, and everyone just lost their shit when he played back-to-back Gaga. No one is safe in this photo.” Photograph: Serichai Traipoom Photograph: Serichai Traipoom ↑ Back to top
Photograph: Lucy H. Van Ellis Lucy Helena: The color guard
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New York skepticism be damned: Lucy Helena—or at least her aesthetic—firmly resides on the sunny side of the street. “New York is a cold city,” says the 23-year-old budding shutterbug, currently a photo editor at Bravo. “It’s very impersonal, but you can totally make it an amazing place, and I try to get a genuine picture of people.”
Helena’s warm and bright portraits of young, stylish women are washed in an afternoon glow that shows off the photographer’s knack for playing with gels and shooting through cellophane and other colorful objects to create, as she puts it, “a soft, calming and dreamy vibe.” Welcome to the not-so-mean streets.—
Tim Lowery ↓“Megan is my go-to girl when I’m having a creative crisis and want to try new colors. This shot on the Upper East Side has my style of shooting: going for a walk, hanging out and chasing light.” Photograph: Lucy H. Van Ellis Photograph: Lucy H. Van Ellis ↑ Back to top