The series of photographs relates to Manhattan in a number of ways for me personally. They are centered upon people and some of the quirks and banality of people’s lives against a backdrop which is one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and energetic cities – also with it’s own quirks. There are scenes and occurrences that to me seem only really likely to play out in an environment like Manhattan; a place that is a playground to some, a work place to others and for a minority – a living hell. The photographs help depict some of this as well as the emotional disparity which is often on display amongst it’s grid like network of streets and avenues.
Name: Shane Gray
Place you live: Manhattan, New York
Place your photos were taken: Manhattan
Can you sum up Manhattan? Manhattan to me is myriad of possibilities. From it’s ethnicity and cuisine to it’s wealth and poverty, from it’s infrastructure to it’s architecture… those possibilities are endless. The concrete and steel canyons as lofty as they are seem a whole world away from some of the grime and grimness amongst some of it’s streets below. Though there’s a grandness and opulence very apparent too. A myriad of noises, accents, musics and vehicles that in itself creates a unique soundbite as a theme tune to the sights you’re witnessing. Where as a first time visitor you uncannily feel that you’ve been here before; the bombardment of previous images, film and otherwise, modern and historical give you a personal sense of this place before setting foot here. This familiarity often contradicted by an uneasy sense of a city that’s constantly re-inventing, re-branding itself; never content yet very much proud. There is something here for every person that visits and few are likely to experience wonderment, shock and awe, maybe within minutes of each other like you can in Manhattan. A heady mix of contrasts and contradiction that leaves you wanting more.
Preoccupation: Trying to find work
A perfect day in Manhattan? An early start, a good coffee or breakfast followed by hours of walking, watching and waiting…
If someone were visiting what must they do? Try to get off the more typical tourist trails as well and explore a different neighborhood or area on foot. Manhattan’s lower east-side such as ‘Alphabet City’ and Chinatown or Harlem (towards the north) for example.
A perfect meal? If I’m able to spurge then maybe midtown’s ‘Becco‘ for a steak or simply grabbing a ‘slice.’ Pizza makes a great stop-gap and is offered throughout the city.
The best thing about Manhattan? The energy, diversity and quirkiness of Manhattan is both memorable and quite addictive! The weather I find great, New York really does have it share of perfect blue skies.
The worst? The traffic, the grime, the expense, occasionally the over crowding. Finding a public WC / bathroom can be a nuisance at times.
Where is your favorite place in the world? This is a tough one! Most probably the Isle of Skye (Scottish highlands) or the peak district (Derbyshire) in the United Kingdom.