Pandemic Portraits in Brooklyn
All photos taken in Sunset Park and Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn
The pandemic has obviously been a tough time for street photography. People are masked and less is happening outdoors. It’s been tougher to travel around the city. But it’s also become an opportunity and has changed how I shoot.
I had been focusing on a project in Brooklyn around where I live, but the pandemic really hit home–this is what I should be doing as much as possible, I realized.
One of the aspects of the project that I wanted to work on was building a set of portraits. However, I stayed away from this in the early pandemic days for obvious reasons, but after a while I realized this was the way to go. So I started stopping people and talking to them and asking them for their picture in my neighborhood of Sunset Park.
I thought at first that people would be more wary because of the virus, but the opposite was true. I’ve never had a higher success rate with people saying yes to me. It turns out I’m not the only one looking for a connection out there; they are too, and some fabulous experiences and connections have resulted from this endeavor. Each portrait makes my day and that seems to be true for the subjects as well.
Copyright © 2021 James Maher
James Maher has lived in New York for his entire life (except for a five-year stint in Madison, Wisconsin, but he doesn’t want to talk about that). Like many Manhattanites, he is a terrible driver and cook, but he’s an excellent navigator. He has been practicing the art of street photography since he first picked up a camera, has worked as a portrait and fine art photographer in New York since 2005, has had a regular feature for the New York Daily News reporting on different neighborhoods of the city through street portraits and interviews with locals, is a certified New York tour and workshop guide (so get ready for some history!), and has sold and licensed his photography of New York to collectors and companies around the world.
Maher is the author of The Essentials of Street Photography and The New York Photographer’s Travel Guide.