Story behind the image – New York Portrait

New York had recently banned smoking in bars, cafes and restaurants etc. and I was shooting a story for Katz Pictures to syndicate to magazines about the city becoming smoke free. Standing opposite the Rockefeller Center on West 49th Street I was first attracted by the American flag in the window and was standing around waiting for something to happen. This guy stopped a few feet away from me looking across the road so I moved sideways and asked if he would mind me taking a photo. He said “fine” so I snapped several shots and this is my favorite. Maybe its my imagination but this guy just looks so New York.. he’s a cliche of what I think people think New Yorkers should look like..

Does the viewer of the image understand what the photographer is trying to say or show? In fact does the photographer even know what they are photographing when they click the shutter or does what they have taken become apparent when editing?

I didn’t really think much about the portrait immediately after I took it. I knew I thought he looked ‘cool’ and very American but it was only after I saw a print that I felt it was a strong image that summed up the feeling of New York. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe for most viewers its just ok and they dont feel it like I do.

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