In its entirety, the island of Manhattan stands at 22 miles long and as of its longest width which is 14th street being the longest point of 2.4 miles. Manhattan, one of the five burroughs, has a population size of 1.6 million. Just imagine that for a moment. 1.6 million people all crammed together on a piece of land mass surrounded by water, sounds crazy right? That is because it is.
I lived one year in New York and I had moved a total of three times. Harlem. Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Greenwich Village. I had 16 roommates (I think. I may have lost count after a while). And hearing anyone say that they have had 16 roommates within a year you would stare at them as if they were crazy but now I say it with a full nonchalant tone, that was just my reality. My reality that might as well sound like a sitcom. Perhaps it was crazy, yes. But so is New York. There are so many souls that occupy the island of Manhattan and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the greatest people and I also met some of the craziest, and yes, I suppose that can happen on any geographic standpoint but being condensed as New York is you can find both at a far more rapid pace.
Once you live in New York, you begin to become entirely desensitized. The word "crazy" just seems relative. The things you see are things you only see in New York. One instance was, I was on the phone with my Nana and she asked if I took the train everyday and I said did and that I had reached a new achievement of not seeing a homeless man's penis in three full weeks! In hindsight, that was information I should not have told my Grandmother but hey, what can you do? With the amount of condensed crazy I was experiencing I began to ask myself I was in fact crazy to live here too? And fairly certain the answer to that question is still up to debate amongst a fair few.
I am terrible with updating this on a fairly regular basis, but yet still somehow remain on an internal six month blog update clock. So here we go from images from the past six months of my life!
The first shoot of 2017
Kara Greenwood - Elite Models
Upper East Side
Kara is one of those people that you just instantly connect with. She has such a vibracious personality. She can go from silly to serious in .5 seconds flat. She is so completely dynamic in how she emotes that she is one of my absolute favorites to work with. I ended up working with her later on in the year and she never fails to disappoint. She can always somehow read into my mind with little information I give her about the upcoming shoots and then she ends up bringing in a element that incorporates the theme to add a far superior final touch.
I found her via instagram (her instagram is @_kgreen_ for all of those whom would like to know) and she put "Slytherin" in her bio and I knew from that moment on that I had to shoot with her. Us Harry Potter nerds have got to stick together! I later told her about that fact and she told me, "Oh, I am so glad that you wanted to shoot with me because of that! I keep thinking that I need to take it down for I don't want people to think that I am a racist since I am a Slytherin!"
She is an incredibly good sport and so trusting. I had this shot in my mind long before the shoot even began. I bought $5 glasses from H&M and threw them on her, and she made them work. I then told her that I wanted to put some water on the lenses and I just assumed she'd think that to be weird, but she went along with it and we ended up creating great things from that.
I may not be a model by any means, but I have got to say that the trust models put into their photographers (and vice versa) is truly magical. Some ideas are so completely weird, and we know this but they go along with it all the same for regardless they know something good will come of it!
And so we walked on....
Day of the shoot she texts me, "We should use a see-through umbrella!" Meanwhile, at that precise moment in time I was doing just that. Hunting around Manhattan for the said item. One of my roommates ended up breaking it later on...
I recall editing this image while at the table while one of my roommates was editing, for some reason he found my editing process to be fascinating but this image came up and I said, "Isn't this the cutest blooper shot you have ever seen?" And he responds, "Thats a blooper shot? I could still see that in a magazine!"
I always enjoyed New York when it was raining, it gave the city some sort of peace. Perhaps because everyone was inside hiding out. But those were the moments in which I loved the New York streets most, in the rain somewhere inbetween 3-9am. No one was really up quite yet and the city was still and most importantly, quiet.
Jade Kedrick - Freelance Model
Going back to that idea of trust, I recall telling Jade, "So hey! I want to throw this white button up on you, but backwards... and have the sleeves tied behind your back! I'm not sure how it'll look but I just want to give it a shot!" I could tell that she thought it was odd, and she said, "I feel as if I am in a straight jacket!" But she worked it none the less. The white button up is so entirely classic and I felt I was working with it a lot recently so I wanted to try something that broke that rhythm. But who knows what the next fad will be, perhaps backwards will what is "in" next!
I rented this studio space in Chelsea for an hour and so that is how long Jade & I had to work with one another. Usually time constraints are just that constraining but I also like thinking of them as some sort of challenge. And in an hour we did four different looks and she became an entirely new persona with each look. She embodied her role perfectly and emoted with such a force.
Colleen McCabe - Red Models
I don't even know where to begin with Colleen... I shot her for the first time back in December in my friends bedroom in Greenwich Village. In such a tiny space she utilized the space to its full potential so this time I wanted to try something with far more enviromental factors. The Brooklyn Bridge. But yet, one of the my biggest creative constraints with New York City is that yes, it is beautiful but there are only so many locations that one can shoot before it appears redundant, so I took that as a challenge within itself to try and create something that no one has seen before with a such iconic landmark. And in the middle of the cold, windy month that is March, Colleen rose to the occasion.
I told her this and I meant every word, "I could shoot you everyday of my life and be thouroughly content with my life choices!" That is because the way in which Colleen moves is much like a dancer, she moves effortlessly and never making a pose look like a legitimate pose. She has one of those faces that are so entirely rare with such a cinematic quality upon it. And of course, she is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out.
So warn yourself, there may be a bit more shots of Colleen than usual but that is simply because I had to restrain myself from posting the whole lot!
She was such a good sport about the fact that I decided to unintentionally torture her by putting her about the East River on a very windy day in March. Good thing I wanted to do a story emphasizing on coats. But none the less, it was cold. It was very cold. And surprisingly crowded. I wanted to attempt to create a narrative that felt timeless as the bridge itself but dodging tourists is the modern day, three dimensional version of Frogger.
To prove to you how cold it was just take a look at the grand scale of my embarrassingly puffy jacket.
My short time span in Brooklyn before moving to MacDougal Street.
I grew tired of the testosterone riddled household, and as nice as it once was to be the only girl amongst four guys. The sitcom lifestyle took its toll and my time was coming to an end. The boys I lived with I mostly adored. Key word. Mostly. The conversations that took place until three in the morning are something I shall always hold dear, for all my boys were complete and utter intellectuals, cancer researchers, Columbia professors and UN employees, and yet for some reason they always let me dictate the movie and programs that we'd watch. I showed them the world of "Rick and Morty" with the fear the would find it to juvenile but by one episode they were hooked and longed to watch the entire series in one sitting. One of my favorite moments was when the twenty one year old frenchman, Columbia Professor, Francois came home to find me working out in the living room for it was snowing & I was too lazy to run to the gym in the cold and I have this tendency to work out to super embarrassing music and I of course was listening to "X Gonna Give It To Ya" by DMX and he says, "You're working out to a song from Rick and Morty?" Well, technically yes but it was out long before that show. But I was proud of him nonetheless. With so many different personalities one of my favorite components of coming home was hearing the music coming down the hallway from our speakers and instantly pegging to whom was home and was sitting in the living room. We all had our very distinctive tastes in music.
I was once more free to listen to my record player as loud as I wanted & I was clearly enthused by it
After living with at least a dozen different people in a five month span I had had enough of the revolving door of souls and longed to live on my own once more. So I went to Brooklyn, and at the time I was getting absolutely no photo jobs and I was beginning to drive myself insane, perhaps it was the weather, perhaps it was just me, my first real winter was taking a drastic toll on my mood. So I decided to snap myself out of it and to pick up a restaurant job at a place in Flatiron. For a short while I felt as I was regressing, but that thought soon vanished for what began as a small part time gig blossomed into some of the most extraordinary unforeseen events that I could never have predicted. And from that, that taught me an extremely valuable lesson, to never discount anything in this life.
And then much like Patti Smith, I moved to Macdougal Street. And this is what home on MacDougal Street looked like..
I lived with three other girls. In a tiny three bedroom in Greenwhich. I shared a room to save on rent. We made it work. They took me in when I had no where else to go. And for that I am eternally grateful.
And so everyday I boarded the F train to go to work and I couldn't think how ironic it was. F train. F stops. Photography jokes.
Athena and I were roomates once before, in Harlem. So we decided to give it another go. But this time there was a new addition. Sarah. Sarah, the epitome of a Southern Belle. As sweet as can be and just as beautiful. At 21 years old she carried herself with such a grace and elegance and with wisdom to boot. Even if she did say "Y'all" now and then ;)
Abby Lee - AMAX
Five Guys - West Village
A blonde and a brunette walk into The Met
And so after a solid three weeks of working nonstop between restaurant shifts and freelancing I rewarded my first day off by waking up in Oregon. The parental figures decided to uplift their life in Southern California to the beautiful Pacific North West.
After being in the constant nonstop lifestyle that is New York, Portland was a much needed break from reality. I was there for 5 days and I don't believe that I heard a single horn honk the entire time, meanwhile if I was walking down the street in New York whomever I was talking to could hear a constant crescendo of horns in the background. Portland is a very trippy place, very quirky and cute and completely laid back, what then seemed like quite the foreign concept. Ultimately, it was there that I decided that I had had enough of my time in New York and wanted to move back to LA. Now there have been many people that have asked as to why I moved back, and in the moment of being in New York there was a laundry list of reasons but now they all have appeared to have vanished. I do not regret going to New York whatsoever, I had never worked harder, created lifelong bonds and got to say that I lived in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and for that I am very fortunate. And so my ride on the F train was coming to a close.