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Manhattan Bridge | © James Douglas
Manhattan Bridge | © James Douglas

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