One of the few photographers who would deeply understand New York is definitely him. Many would be fooled by the bright lights and apparently impersonal glamour New York so often displays. The Internet is already filled with that kind of pictures. He never simply takes pictures of buildings or of people. New York does not need that and he would know it. He would just wait for those perfectly broken personal moments of New York, when there is almost a complete convergence between the homeless punks with their dogs asking for money, the musician in his suit bringing his piano in Washington Square Park, the infamous wanderers in West Village whispering words like I’ve got the blow yo and the moment when I would shyly close my eyes, smile and take it all in. He would always wait before taking a picture. He always does. He does not need poetry, he does not need words. He transcends this world in black and white. He keeps his films next to him long after he’s finished them. He would take tens of films of New York and wait for the burden of present life to dissolve itself into newer, sharper feelings. Taking pictures in New York should never be about color. Every city has color, but what is striking about New York is the splendor it achieves without color. Turn every picture of New York in black and white and you’ll understand more. He would take the pictures directly in black and white : no lies, no flash, just noise. His noise is always actualized in this deep, indiscernible, mortifying silence – the purest of them all. He would take pictures at 5 a.m. and then smoke a cigarette, after meeting all those people he always forgets. Sometimes he prefers film – it gets him rid of the burden of watching the pictures he took the night before. He would take his time. New York must always be about taking your time. There is something so voluptuously wrong in taking your time in a city that always pushes you from behind. Like that guy in Fat Cat some weekends ago, getting kicked out by the guards, not moving and saying : I’m gonna make you work for it. He would make New York work for it. He would get trapped in tiny apartments in West Harlem or Brooklyn and take shots of staircases and beautiful women smoking a cigarette or combing their hair, erasing their features, erasing their presence from a reality that is always too sharp and bright. We would hardly meet, but I would always wait for him. He would rarely take my pictures, but I would always know when he’s taking pictures or when he’s thinking of me. I would wander the streets by myself, as I do now, wondering how would they feel if he were here.
PICTURES TAKEN IN THE WINTER OF MY LIFE BY VALERIU CATALINEANU