Cityscapes - Pervez Photography

Cities are such a unique place to shoot. As centers of mass populations, they are an embodiment of the human experiment: they show us how we live together, how we form a society, but uniquely so. This is because cities inevitably include diverse groups of people, spanning race, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. It is hard to not find a particular group of people in these metropolises. And in this sea of humanity, there are also majestic buildings, parks, and unique architecture. In all of this, people function with normalcy. In that sense, cities remind me that we are capable of living with one another, despite our differences, and that there is nothing unusual about it. City photography has the potential to capture all of this, and that is simply magical. 

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Let Light In

At the Fulton Center in Manhattan (an underground walk from the Fulton subway stop), there is a sky reflector. On a summer afternoon while visiting the city, I decided to go there and try to get some photos of the light coming through. I'll be upfront - I had no idea I'd get something like this. I went to the bottom of the multiple floor open area underneath the reflector - it is probably a good 75 feet above me, possibly more. The artwork at the top is interesting and worth photographing itself. However, I wanted to get more perspective, so I stayed at the lowest level. Moving around until I got the sunlight bouncing off in the exact way I wanted, I got ready for a shot. However, the light was so bright I could barely see - I guess the reflector works! I ended up resting my camera on the ground and using the LCD screen to make adjustments, something I usually don't do. Even then, the light was so bright that I could barely see. I got what I thought was the right frame, when a single person walked by the railing to look over. I squinted hard to see that I had the exposure right, and quickly grabbed a shot before she moved away....which happened all of 2 seconds after this shot. So....this exemplifies the benefits of taking time to set up a shot....and then getting lucky with timing in that frame! Also, I love the shot from a philosophical perspective. I was drawn to the place because the idea of drawing light into darkness, which is precisely what the sky reflector does. Given the many difficulties in the world these days, we need to make efforts to draw light and positivity into our lives and the world at all times. To me, this woman is looking over that light which is penetrating the otherwise dark underground. Draw light into darkness, and observe and celebrate it. I thought of some George Harrison lyrics while setting up the shot: "Darkness only stays the night-time/In the morning it will fade away/Daylight is good at arriving at the right time/It's not always going to be this grey." That's why I was drawn to the angle for this shot. I'm glad it ended up looking like what I had in mind when I got there!

Fulton CenterSky ReflectorManhattanSubwayCityscapesSilhouette