In a time when the camera is mobile and the photograph instant, we wanted to attempt a project from a different angle. The camera is everywhere these days. It goes to breakfast, lunch and dinner. It goes to work, goes out on the weekend, goes for rides, and goes on dates. For this series we picked one place, one camera, and one recurring window of time. The camera belongs to Chris Henry. The place is Wall Street. The window of time is high-noon.
When we met Chris he told us he was making "lunchtime walks" through downtown Manhattan and he was seeing and snapping interesting things from time to time. In his words he was walking around the financial district of NYC "breaking out a semi-busted old Panasonic Lumix point and shoot camera that I leave in my office. It's set to shoot in black and white. The battery only lasts about 20 minutes at a time." Clearly we had found the right guy for the job. We agreed on the strict shooting parameters with Chris that he would only shoot around Wall Street and only shoot on his lunch hour, and agreed that whatever we got....we got. We weren't sure if we would get anything. It has been one of the coldest winters on record, (the 3rd coldest February in NYC history to be exact) and we have had our fair share of the white stuff blowing around this year. But Chris shot for a little over 2 months for us to settle on a small gallery to share.
Wall Street is an area that can feel cavernous and claustrophobic at the same time. The streets are narrow and the buildings tall and close together at odd angles so they often block the sun from almost any direction at any time of day. It is a place blessed with both shadowy lines and shadowy figures. You won't find any climbs or descents, switchbacks, sprawling vistas, or mountain passes on this tract of Manhattan Island. But you might find beauty all the same. This time of year you won't see many bicycles either. But they are there if you look. They are always there. And in August of 2002, 70 professional cyclists were there on their bicycles racing around Wall Street in the New York City Pro Cycling Championship in front of thousands of spectators. The cheers for a certain US Postal rider as he led the main field down the front straight in the blazing heat could be heard all the way up to midtown. Yes, the frozen streets you see here through Chris' lens have seen real bike racing.
This project was an experiment and collaboration in capturing an iconic piece of Manhattan from a unique point of view. It's a personal collection that covers an expanse of time (December 2014 - March 2015), captures a neighborhood, and sparks imagination. Chris did masterful work on this project with unconventional tactics that yielded unexpected results. You can see more of his photography and get in touch @ChrisHenryworld on Instagram.