Photographer Captures New York at its ‘Worst and its Really Best’

Wandering the empty streets of New York throughout the dim days of the COVID-19 pandemic, photographer Phil Penman captured the town at a single of its most affordable ebbs.

“I have combined thoughts about this time,” Penman tells PetaPixel. “It was extremely unhappy to see the streets I enjoy boarded up, owing to the rise in shoplifting and theft.”

Phil Penman photography

Phil Penman photography

Even with the bleak instances, Penman found comfort and ease in possibility discussions with strangers as folks yearned for human link throughout a period when authorities were enforcing lockdowns.

“This is New York at its worst and its quite ideal,” states Penman. “The pictures choose you on a journey. Silent streets of New York like we have hardly ever witnessed before proper through to the figures and personalities on the avenue that had been considerably less lucky and had nowhere else to go.”

Phil Penman photography

Phil Penman photography

“I put in a terrific offer of time wandering the streets documenting almost everything and everything I noticed,” he carries on. “I observed the discussions I had with persons on the road helped me mentally and take pleasure in just how a great deal we all need each other. Zoom calls ended up nice but no substitute for talking with persons in the flesh.”

Big Vacant Apple

Penman’s photos engage in on isolationist themes, amplified by the Leica Monochrom digital camera he selected to shot the task on. Like any avenue photographer, he understands persistence is a advantage.

“Coming from the U.K. and knowing how considerably the rain just sucks, I now obtain myself looking for the bleak weather conditions to act as a backdrop for the figures I like to seize,” he describes.

“I know from my 30 decades on the streets that people remarkable times are several and significantly concerning. It needs a ton of man hours on the avenue walking and observing. If you go out with the frame of mind that you are likely to get these photos all the time you are environment oneself up for failure.”

Phil Penman photography

Phil Penman photography

Phil Penman photography

Irrespective of hailing from Britain, Penman says he is “very a lot a New Yorker” immediately after living there for 23 decades. He points to Arnold Newman, Elliot Erwitt, and Josef Koudelka as influences but 1 conjures up him additional than other people.

“Always have to go with Salgado on this one particular. From each a photographic place of watch but also as a businessman and the way in which he handles himself with jobs he chooses to do,” he claims.

Phil Penman photography

Phil Penman photography

Penman has developed an enviable subsequent on the web with his Instagram page boasting 180,000 followers.

“Back when I commenced photographers experienced to have the gatekeepers approve of them and perhaps they could have a profession,” he suggests.

“These times young photographers really do not know how fantastic it is. You now can make an audience and make dollars performing a little something you enjoy without likely to the gatekeepers. Many photographers now can get to tens of millions of people every single thirty day period.”

Photographer Phil Penman.
The cover of Penman’s book New York Road Diaries.

His pics have been collated into a book called New York Road Diaries which is printed by teNeues.

Much more of Penman’s get the job done can be found on his Instagram and site.


Image credits: Photos by Phil Penman

Maria Lewis

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