Friday, October 06, 2006

The Noo Yawk Zoom

As photographers, is it the cities we live in that determine our aesthetic choices; or is it just the equipment we have at hand?

I've never been in New York before, and I've never had a camera with an optical zoom equivalent to 36-432 mm in 35 mm terms, so it's hard for me to say.

But this camera fits this city well, or so it seems. The pictures above are all examples of what I call the Noo Yawk Zoom, where the long focal length not just brings the (often vertically) distant closer; but also 'squeezes' the distance between the foreground and background, bringing disparate elements together in strange juxtapositions. Except that they're not strange in New York, they just exaggerate a logic already inherent in the city, celebrated in the city. As in the song 'Englishman in New York' by Sting, its opening apparently inspired by the diversity of sound in just walking down one street in this city.

So a baseball game, a mock Gothic castle, a forest and skyscapers in one zoom shot from Central Park, looking south. A green copper church steeple, a surveillance camera, a wooden water tower and a glass clad skyscraper in one zoom north up Amsterdam Avenue.
A thick forest of masts on the Hudson. And a smiling sculptural sun framed by road signs.

Delhi? Well, in Delhi juxtapositions get pretty wild without trying. A 40-80 lens works just fine.

Soon up on the flicker page - a series on 'parked bikes as sculpture', and the 'junk/abandonment' thematic continuing from India...
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