I’ve seen this guy playing the saxophone in Central Park several times before; he’s what I’d consider a permanent fixture. I stopped to take his picture and then left a few dollars in his case. When I was here about five years ago I saw another guy playing the guitar. I was at a train station in another city and someone was some guy playing a didgeridoo. No far beyond were other musicians waiting their turn.
That got me thinking about how they stake out these popular spots. I imagine it’s first come first serve. For prime locations like this in Central Park you probably show up early and once you start playing you don’t stop until you’re done, then the next guy takes over. It’s a dog eat dog world for buskers.
Recently I was walking along a street and there was a lone piano chained to a lamppost. When I walk back later a lady was playing a sonata as only an accomplished musician can do, it was stunning and several of us were stopped in our tracks listening to a recital.
Subways and tunnels are the perfect location because they concentrate people in confined spaces and you have a captive audience. Quite frankly it’s where I’ve heard some of the most talented musicians. What better way to practice than to perform in a public space? If I could play music I’d be out there too, but I take photos so I’ll just stick to what I know.
Here is a series of shots I took last year when in NYC. I walked to Times Square late at night in the pouring rain. While that may not sound fun, it's an excellent time to do street photography. The combination of lights, reflections, and umbrellas create scenes that are fun to watch, in a people-watching kind of way.
Because of the rain and the late hour, there were far fewer people out than usual. If you've ever been to Times Square then you know that's rare. It meant I was able to capture little vignettes without too many distractions. Each of these photos tells a different story from that evening. It is up to you the viewer to imagine what that story is.
As the name of the series suggests, I've employed a vignette technique to each of these images to draw attention to the people. The setting, while electric, is only that, a setting. Each story is as different as the people that inhabit them.