Several weeks ago I took a trip to New York City with fellow photographer and great friend, Steve Oney. It was a terrific trip and although the primary purpose was photography it was almost secondary to the great time we had simply wandering around the city’s back streets where the soul of the city lives.
Although we generally stuck to a loosely arranged “plan” to visit certain parts of the city, we had no idea what we might find. For example, one of the areas that we wanted to visit was Chinatown, New York City and we simply wandered around for a couple of hours not shooting very much, just soaking up the atmosphere. After pausing for lunch at one of the many amazing restaurants we stumbled upon a huge and noisy crowd in Columbus Park right in the heart of Chinatown, New York City. We later found out that each Saturday afternoon the older members of the Chinese community get together here to challenge each other to games of chinese checkers, chess and cards. Huddled around their small tables the players were surrounded by people, several deep cheering (I think!!!) their every move. Some of the games were attracting more attention than others and generating much more noise. We quickly became a part of the crowd and allowed ourselves to be absorbed. At this point we began to photograph. Although there were plenty of photographic opportunities at the extremities of the crowd I wanted to feel a part of what was going on because I wanted to capture the personalities involved in whatever they were doing as well as the lookers on. It was an amazing experience with the sights, sounds and smells providing the sensory experiences, helping to stimulate creativity.