#66: Thank You New York City

#66: Thank You New York City

As I write this there’s a steady rain coming down in Sunnyside, Queens. It’s forecast to clear up over night with the temperature reaching almost 70 degrees tomorrow. It’ll be a great early spring day in New York City. If I were here, I’d probably have a walk planned for somewhere in Queens. But I’ll be on a flight to Minneapolis with a couple of bags filled with my belongings, including the negatives from the last year of making photographs, most of which I haven’t looked at yet.

It has been a wild few weeks. In between job hunting and packing and planning, I’ve made several walks that I’ll always remember, including the entire length of Manhattan with my good friend Alex Wolfe of Pedestrian Magazine. We recorded 22 miles, took the Staten Island ferry and climbed to the top of the World Trade Center. Can’t ask for much more for a final Saturday walk in the city. I’ll have more on that later!

Over the course of the walks, I’ve started to refine my idea for how I plan on integrating all these walks and photographs and magical locations I’ve visited into a coherent and compelling final project. It might not work, but my hunch is telling me that I’m heading in the right direction, and once I’m outside of New York City, I’ll gain a new perspective that will inform how I edit and synthesize the material. It’ll be an interesting creative experience.

I’ve made plenty of photographs along the way the last few weeks. It’s been interesting photographing from the perspective of finality. There’s an intensity to it that I haven’t experienced before. I feel I’ve switched gears and have started to photograph as if I were a tourist. It’s kind of fun!

Along the way, I hit a few of the key locations for the project for a final visit to gather clues. It’s been revealing, and I’m sure I’ll keep receiving the clues until I can no longer see New York. Life moves on though, and so does the internet.

A few weeks ago Leo Hsu of Fraction Magazine reached out and offered to feature some of my work from my walks. We made an edit of the infrastructure photographs I’ve been making as well as from my Skyway project, where I walked between La Guardia and JFK. I also included a few of the ink drawings I’ve been making of my walks based on Strava recordings. Eventually these will all be in a new blog that will act as an archive of the walks with all of the data I’ve collected, and and edit of the photographs.

I wrote an essay about what I’ve learned from walking, the pandemic and photographing in New York City. It was a tough one to write while I’m still very much wrapping things up, but I feel that it represents some of my current thoughts. As always, I wish I could keep editing and refining, but this is the internet, and it’s publish or be damned. It’s an honor to in an issue with great photographers like Amani Willett, Juan Sánchez Sánchez and Yun Peng. Please take a look at their work, and reach out to them if you find it inspiring.

It’s been an amazing experience living in NYC the last 12 years. I’ve met some incredible people, and was fortunate enough to spend hours up on hours walking and observing this dynamic, bewildering and diverse city. It’s been the experience of a lifetime, and I’ll never forget all the memories. If we’ve met along the way and had a good conversation about photography and art and life, I want to thank you very much for your generosity and inspiration. I’ll always cherish those interactions.

Here are a few photographs from the last walks. I’ll be back next week from St. Cloud, Minnesota with more to share on the next chapter.

Dumbo, Brooklyn, March 3, 2021
Manhattan, New York, March 3, 2021
Manhattan, New York, March 4, 2021
Croton Gorge Park, New York, March 9, 2021
Coney Island, New York, March 23, 2021

I’m an photographer, writer and social media strategist moving from NYC to St. Cloud. This is my newsletter on art, walking, and mindfulness. Each issue, I share new work from my projects and try to make connections between ideas, articles and people that fascinate me. You can email me at info@bryanformhals.com or follow me on Instagram & Twitter