The Coffee Place, New York City, New York, 2010
I made this four-layer image from a distance, using a long lens to compress the layers together. In the close foreground, the curving roof of a black car creates a mysterious presence, its driver invisible behind tinted windows. The Coffee Place itself appears in a second foreground layer – it is a fast food shop on wheels, bearing pictures of grilled breakfasts on its sides, with a window open to both sides. I caught a passing man talking on a cell phone within this window and made him my primary layer. He ignores the promise of a grilled breakfast to focus on other needs at the moment. The final layer is the blue peeling wall in the background, probably a wall around a construction site. Its primary color repeats the deeper blue that surrounds the advertisements on the Coffee Place.
Threesome, New York City, New York, 2010
Using an apartment building’s awning to create a frame within my frame, I saw two people standing within it, one in the light, and the other in the shadows. Both have cell phones in their hands. I waited until a third person entered the space below the awning – she is involved with a call as well, and gives the impression that everyone in the city is simultaneously on a cell phone.
Footrest, New York City, New York, 2010
Three key factors drew me to this image of a man taking a call on the street. I liked the way he makes himself comfortable by using a fire hydrant as a footrest. I also found the abstracted man wearing a hard hat in the background to symbolize a city always at work. Finally, there is the colorful ethnic food advertisement that expresses the flavor of the place. The image provides a splendid urban context for what is a private conversation.
Shoppers, New York City, New York, 2010
The child is the focal point of the image, waiting patiently upon the brilliant red stroller cushions until she can roll. Meanwhile, there is the ubiquitous phone needing to be checked directly behind her. My wideangle lens places the child and the three adult shoppers within the context of a store entrance.
Adscape, New York City, New York, 2010
An advertisement filled backdrop supplies the last of three layers that make this image function. The middle layer contrasts two people, one of them is in motion, while the other seems frozen into stillness because he is involved with a phone call. The foreground layer, featuring a subway entrance, gives the image its New York City context.
Quiet, New York City, New York, 2010
Calling someone while on the streets of a busy city can be difficult. You need to find where you can stand, get good reception, and most of all, be able to hear the other party. I watched as this woman retreated to a quiet corner of an otherwise busy street. She is probably traveling somewhere – a wheeled piece of luggage stands next to her as she cradles her phone in her hand before making a call. The image is an incongruous one -- here, just a bit before noon on a street corner of one of the largest cities in the world, someone finds a place to make a quiet call.