The Architecture of Cities: New York: Part One

When I was young and younger I remember the hills rolled before my eyes. The cemeteries were framed staid. They memorably crowned the mortals and immortalized.

Maybe it is like being lured out of darkness into the light. You instinctively know that you must pass the dead before you live. My legions of dreams followed me into New York. I drew my breath and challenged my future.

The bus kept movin’, movin’ and rollin’. I was following my nightmares and fantasies. I was not yet a photographer but I was.

I arrived at my New York four corners.

Some people use the the North Star to navigate with. I pulled my dividing compass. I traced my life from the Long Island Expressway graveyards to where I stand in this moment. My fears in that present and later my memories in this present allowed me to reflect that start to almost this finish.

I would like to say my New York started with Fritz Lang’s Blade Runner: Circa 1929. Those cinematic images and a few others have showered me with fantastic imagery. Just about every photograph I thought about  thereafter was cinematically influenced.

Woody Allen’s Manhattan: Circa 1979  might be closer to who I became.. The opening credits wished my camera into dream sequences: sort of like visual sorcery opening the doors to the greater possibilities.

I have examined tons of great photographs. So few influenced me. My impressions in my moments propelled me. My own personal cinema drove me. When my mind’s body took off down and across the five New York borough streets and boulevards: I started to find my me.

Then there was the first! Everyone says they remember “their first”.  Most remember the revisionism as if in a graphic illustrated version.

The first photograph I made in New York was actually one of thousands. I realized that while I watched movies I was always lost in a dream apart from the film. That is why the larger stories mattered so much: I decided that there was a “still” from almost every movie: Imagine one thousand films: Imagine one thousand dreams of “first” photographs.

So here I stand.

The three “Blade Runner” renditions travel with me as do memories from thousands of other movies. I make a million mental snaps daily. Each visual is a window into my process. It is the process that matters.

Every exposure in your life is connected to your own personal process. Mine as I mentioned is a visual sorcery that elevates my moment. That immersive levitation is what challenges this photographer.

The first time Pope Paul visited New York I realized my photography had the ability to elevate my moment, my camera’s eyes.

Many years later while witnessing the fall of our New York empire circa 2001, I realized a tethered sensibility to the Pope’s visit. Nothing about the above is connected to a religious force. It is merely optical enhancement through a realization that passion matters most.

My architectural photographs in New York and cities of the world are my passion’s reveal. When I die, I will die as a child with my eyes wide open.

“Stay tuned”.

All photos by Richard Schulman.

Richard Schulman is a photographer and writer. His books include Portraits of the New Architecture and Oxymoron & Pleonasmus. He lives in New York City.