The Love Affair With Black and White: NYC Edition

I picked up my first “camera” two years ago. It was a Nikomat FT I bought off Craigslist in San Francisco. The guy who sold me the camera along with a Nikkor 50mm lens told me his mom used it as a reporter when she was with the Chronicles.

I walked into my first photography class at Columbia two years ago. It was a class where the Professor and the teaching assistants grilled you in front of the whole class with the most personal questions. They get to decide if they want you or not. The new online wait list system failed that summer, with zero competition, I got in.

Perhaps like “the shot” that a photographer searches for, the important ones seem to just present themselves as serendipitously as my discovery of making photographs.

In these two short years, making photographs has become my therapy. Just as some sing karaoke (I do that) or go kick-boxing (I don’t do that). In my photographs, you might sense my mood, my feelings, my pleasure, my want and my struggles.

Come along and meddle in my love affair with black and white.

“Bow your heads and read for your blessings on New York City’s disappearing C trains.”

“This hustle continues even though the bustle is not at the airport.”

“Yes, this happened. How? 88 miles per hour.”

“Opponents argued that putting a park in the middle of a city would decrease the value of surrounding properties. Think again.”

“Good friends are hard to come by. A bridge built in 1883, a carousel built in 1992 and yet to be completed. A 1,776 feet tall skyscraper can be found along the shores of the East River.”

“No, I don’t understand graffiti. I can barely make out the words. The fact that this photograph is in black and white means more now than when I took it on September 10, 2013 for it is now just smudges of white paint soon to be demolished.”

“The street lamps in Granmercy do this amazing thing at night, especially after it rains.”

“I don’t know what struck me more about this…the fact that I thought I was going to grow up when I moved to New York, or the fact that I realized that I’m not ready to grow up after I moved here.”

“Let’s just enjoy the view.”

“Lower exposure and a black and white filter, and the sunset along the Manhattan skyline.”

“You are looking at 42nd street and 3rd Avenue, from the top floors of the Chrysler Building. 58 seconds in an elevator is all that’s needed to get this view.”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have never lived somewhere that snowed before. The winter of 2014 taught me that what’s in this photograph can be an absolute beauty or an absolute mess.”

“You wonder, what the hell is this? What is she looking at? Why is there a giant screen and three cushions on the floor? New York City requires you to ask questions like these often. It’s like the first time when I walked into an empty subway car and immediately regretted it as soon as the doors closed…”

“As a transplant from Northern California, I fly across the country frequently for weddings, birthdays, or just because. A 5 hour plane ride has become the norm.”

“It’s the lines. I’ve always wanted to see the lines of light shine through the windows at Grand Central Station. This view reminds me of old watch commercials I used to see as a child in Hong Kong where lovers depart and unite on platforms at a train station.”

*Clement is a photographer for hire living and working in New York City. If you like what you see, check out his instagram @KingClementXIII


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