Bubbles in Central Park—2011

The Story Behind the Photograph...

It took me years to properly return to New York with my camera. But when I finally did, it was some of the most fun I had with a camera in years.

Let me back up and point out that I grew up in Manhattan and spent most of my 20s there. The challenge for me in taking pictures in New York wasn’t knowing where to look for subject matter, but instead being sure I’d actually see the stories all around me. For me, familiarity risks breeding blindness. And so for more than a decade since I had picked up a camera, when shooting in New York I avoided all but the most obvious subject matter.

I photographed the World Trade Center from the Staten Island Ferry in August, 2001. I photographed the Empire State Building and The Statue of Liberty from the air, courtesy of Liberty Helicopter. I photographed the WTC site in 2002.

In all, I successfully avoided walking the streets of my hometown looking for stories and images until fairly recently. Even then, I wasn’t sure what to expect. New York is amazing… and it’s just home. And like home, it’s all too familiar. I wasn’t sure I’d see the dirt or the magic…

As it turned out, once I started shooting, I saw images everywhere. This shot came about when I took the kids for a walk through the park and past The Bethesda Fountain. There, we happened upon a street performer who was teaching people how to make human-size bubbles.

My kids, 6 & 4 at the time, joined in and I had fun grabbing snapshots of them making and chasing these giant creations. When Jordan and Tamar had their fill, I asked them to sit on the sideline for a bit while I worked the scene looking for a few images for me. That’s when I realized that if I just had bubble large enough, with the light passing in the right direction and a couple of passers-by that I could capture in the right position…. voila… presto, and here’s the result.




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