As we get ready for the launch of "Empire State," our collection devoted to contemporary New York photography, we've been thinking about what it means to be a photographer in 2015, when smartphones and the Internet have made photography more widespread than ever before.
The photographers in Sugarlift’s “Empire State” are leaders in a new movement of photography in a time when more people are taking more photographs and sharing them with more people. These artists have embraced the democratization of the medium in the 21st century, building a spirit of collaboration and competition by shooting together and constantly sharing their art in real-time. Many of them started taking pictures just like you and I do -- through an iPhone and posting images to Instagram.
A community of the most active and skilled photographers in the city developed, and each artist pushed the others to climb to the next vantage points, find the perfect New York stories, and capture the decisive moment. They moved on from smartphone cameras to handheld Leicas, Canons and Sonys, spending their days (and nights) scouring the city for the best possible photographs. They developed projects with each other, organize massive meet-ups with pros and amateurs shooting together, and work hard to spread their love of photography to a wider audience.
The photographs of "Empire State" tap into the pop sensibility of the Internet era, creating striking images of urban scenes that capture their image-saturated, high-energy, hyper-speed world. If you spend time with the photographs made by these artists, you'll go to the top of the Empire State Building and to the dark subway tunnels beneath the streets, to the abandoned out-buildings of Ellis Island and to Times Square, mecca of global capitalism. The movement has embraced a new stylistic use of digital photography, which often favors contrast, saturation and geometric composition. To see the city through the eyes of these twelve photographers is to see a vibrant, dynamic metropolis full of iconic scenes and visual drama.
This Friday, March 6th, we are celebrating the launch of the "Empire State" collection with a launch party and exhibition at Livestream Public! For information about the event and to buy your tickets, see our Eventbrite page here. Starting Friday, the photographs from the exhibition will be available for purchase in limited editions in our online gallery.
The photographs featured in this article are all a part of the "Empire State" collection. The artists are (in order): Raheim Simon, Rob McCarthy, Dave Krugman, Marzena Szymanska, Humza Deas, Ryan Parrilla and Gio Elao.