Street Photography: Radio City

I recently started a Facebook Group as a way to extend the experience of my workshops for the benefit of my attendees and others in my circle who love photography. Periodically, I post a video to the group where I issue a photo challenge. It’s an exercise designed to stimulate critical seeing in a way that results in images that are creative and unique to the individual photographer.

I often issue such challenges to myself as a way to stretch. This is because I frequently walk down the same streets. After a while, inspiration starts to fizzle and I am loathe to create images that are similar to what I have done before. In addition, many of the streets are home to some of New York City’s most iconic landmarks. These places are the subject of millions of snapshots taken by both native New Yorkers and tourists from around the globe. So it’s not easy finding a new approach to photographing these areas in a way that has not been seen over and over again.

So my self-challenge was to limit myself to architectural details that are above my head. This proved helpful when I approached Radio City. The most common photograph one encounters is a wide view showing the facade of the building with it’s world-renowned marquee. I chose to avoid that cliche entirely by walking along Radio City on its 51st Street side toward Fifth Avenue.

I’ve been to Radio City for decades and it’s only as a result of my photo challenge that I noticed the rapturous face above the stage entrance. Indeed, this face was among the dozens that was weaved into the design of the grating over all the stage entrances. The face does not immediately scream out “Radio City.” And that is it’s charm as it is a subtle symbol of the drama and other entertainments that are presented in this famous venue.

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Published by Xiomáro

Nationally exhibited artist, photographer, speaker, teacher, and curator. Author of "Weir Farm National Historic Site" (Arcadia Publishing).

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