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Manhattan Bridge | © James Douglas
Manhattan Bridge | © James Douglas
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A Street Photographer's Guide To New York City

Picture of James Douglas
Updated: 21 October 2016
New York is a street photographer’s dream. An eclectic metropolis filled with energy and color, the city constitutes holistic, not solely visual, sensory overload. In between side stepping rats the size of microwave ovens and indulging in colossal slices of molten lava cheese pizza, budding street photographers can look out for everything from phenomenal views to one of a kind characters and world class street art.

You’re in New York City, so look up and look around. Whether it’s a bridge, a building, a rooftop, or a water tower, the city provides some of the world’s most incredible views. The Brooklyn Bridge, the Roosevelt Island Tramway, and the High Line are all fantastic places to start, as are landmark buildings such as the Flatiron Building, the Empire State Building, and Rockefeller Center. These points of interest provide breathtaking views of all that surrounds them, and they’re visually stunning to photograph and to take photographs from.

New Yorker Hotel | © James Douglas
New Yorker Hotel | © James Douglas
Williamsburg Bridge | © James Douglas
Williamsburg Bridge | © James Douglas
Flatiron Building | © James Douglas
Flatiron Building | © James Douglas
Brooklyn Bridge | © James Douglas
Brooklyn Bridge | © James Douglas
Chinatown from Manhattan Bridge | © James Douglas
Chinatown from Manhattan Bridge | © James Douglas
Financial District | © James Douglas
Financial District | © James Douglas
Financial District | © James Douglas
Financial District | © James Douglas
Roosevelt Island Tramway | © James Douglas
Roosevelt Island Tramway | © James Douglas
Washington St., DUMBO | © James Douglas
Washington St., DUMBO | © James Douglas
Williamsburg, Brooklyn | © James Douglas
Williamsburg, Brooklyn | © James Douglas

New Yorkers are like rolling hand grenades – unpredictable and brash, either on the cusp of an explosive tantrum or shocking you with generosity. Turn your camera on and ditch your reservations – everyone secretly loves to be in the limelight. SoHo showcases high fashion and architectural beauty, while the subways will hypnotize you with the strange and the mysterious. Union Square and Washington Square Park are prime locations to find unique NYC characters who make for perfect, colorful subjects.

Broadway, SoHo | © James Douglas
Broadway, SoHo | © James Douglas
Sixth Avenue Station | © James Douglas
Sixth Avenue Station | © James Douglas
West Fourth Street Court, Greenwich Village | © James Douglas
West Fourth Street Court, Greenwich Village | © James Douglas
The Subway | © James Douglas
The Subway | © James Douglas
Clinton Street, Lower East Side | © James Douglas
Clinton Street, Lower East Side | © James Douglas
Broome St., SoHo | © James Douglas
Broome Street, SoHo | © James Douglas
Times Square | © James Douglas
Times Square | © James Douglas
Spring Steet, SoHo | © James Douglas
Spring Steet, SoHo | © James Douglas
Midtown | © James Douglas
Midtown | © James Douglas
Happy Bones feat. Fliickman | © James Douglas
Happy Bones feat. Fliickman | © James Douglas

In true New York style, the city’s street art is a fascinating exhibition of creative talent, with each example more bold than the last. There’s jaw dropping art literally everywhere you look, so keep your eyes peeled wherever you go. Thanks to initiatives like The Bushwick Collective, entire neighborhoods become unofficial exhibition spaces for some of the city’s (and the world’s) most talented graffiti artists.

SoHo, New York | © James Douglas
SoHo, New York | © James Douglas
Bushwick, New York | © James Douglas
Bushwick, New York | © James Douglas
Brooklyn, New York | © James Douglas
Brooklyn, New York | © James Douglas
Williamsburg, New York | © James Douglas
Williamsburg, New York | © James Douglas
Bushwick, New York | © James Douglas
Bushwick, New York | © James Douglas

Pound the pavement and look for the details in the colors, movement, architecture, and more. Create your own subjects, and remember that photography is subjective. So leave the selfie stick at home, dust off your camera, and don’t regret fumbling when a French bulldog with sunglasses rides past you on a skateboard – this is New York City, after all.

Written and photographed by James Douglas