All images by Soho Trendz. Used with permission.
The photography of Soho Trendz is what I can raw, organic, gritty and realistic. From my apartment in Williamsburg, I live a much different life than what I grew up knowing and understanding about the city that I’ve lived in my entire life. On discovering Soho’s EyeEm account, I was instantly transported back to a life that is almost never shown, talked about, or accepted as part of New York.
For those that talk about missing the old, gritty New York they rarely talk about the tough times that came with it. There was a time where no one wanted to walk through Harlem, Williamsburg, Bushwick, or Long Island City. Instead, most of New York was gripped by major economic disparity, it was dangerous, wild, and if you had kids you genuinely feared for their lives. Soho’s work in some ways reminds me of that time by showcasing the grit that still remains in the city.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.
Soho: Well I first got into photography during the time of 2006-2009. During those years I was a part of a late 80’s early 90’s retro fashion team. It was at that time, because of my style, I always found myself standing in front of someone’s camera but I didn’t like to look at the camera. I would always looking up, down or away. I just knew how I wanted to look being photographed.
Phoblographer: What made you want to get into street photography?
Soho: it wasn’t until 2011 I got into Street Photography and I really didn’t know too much about what I was doing. As a visionary I would just take pictures of cool moments and people and I want to envision everything as if they were out of a movie. I got into taking photos of homeless people and certain conditions in my neighborhood and I wanted to tell a story I felt wasn’t being told. Every photo I shot back then I would treat it as if it was this cinematic moment out of an imaginary movie and I wanted people to see what I was doing. Shortly I came across the EyeEm photo app and discovered that there was a whole community of Mobile Photographers that was doing the same thing I was doing. Only thing is that it was from people across the world–something I’d never been exposed to before.
Phoblographer: Your images are often candid but are also very telling of the people you photograph. What makes you actually want to push the shutter when these people are in front of you? Is it usually the lighting? Is it their outfits? What motivates the photographic process for you?
Soho: For me when I take a candid photo of someone, the motivation behind it might be everything that’s going on in the frame. Sometimes it’s just one thing. Sometimes it’s nothing. I like to think of my photos as different scenes from one big movie. As a Street Photographer I believe i’m subconsciously always on alert waiting to shoot my next scene. It’s like telling a non verbal quiet story where even the main characters don’t know that they’ve landed a major role. Sometimes it’s the lighting, sometimes it’s the scenery or the setting, sometimes it’s a hand gesture, and sometimes it’s knowing what you can do post production. After a while you start to develop a natural instinct of what a good photo can become.
Phoblographer: You seem to embrace a very high contrast, faded, cross processed look. How do you feel that this helps you to get your creative vision across?
Soho: Most definitely. I believe that’s one of the most important factors of my photography. I like color in my photos but nothing that’s over processed. I believe any photo with the right amount of contrast or shadows will help deliver that vision that your going for.
Phoblographer: Tell us the story behind your personal favorite image of the last year that you’ve created.
Soho: My most personal favorite photo I’ve created over the last year came to me while I was working in a condo building. The subject in the photo is guy by the name of Mr. Robert who lives in the building and came outside grab a smoke. As I was walking out the back of the building I saw him sitting there with his legs crossed enjoying his cigarette unbothered by the old furniture. I instantly knew that this was another scene out of a movie that I had to shoot. With this one photo I thought I just may have captured everything I thought street photography just may have been about.
Phoblographer: Lots of your images are shot in the subway and try to find a way to balance NY’s remaining grit with some sort of classic beauty. How do you think that this trend in your work will continue to find definition and identity as New York continues to gentrify?
Soho: I believe that’s what makes New York, New York and as New Yorkers we are always right in the middle of somewhere stuck in between living in the balance of the grittiness and fabricated high class beauty that comes along with it. I believe no matter how much New York is gentrified, there will always be struggle.
There are certain neighborhoods where there are is literally a two block difference between those who have wealth and those who have nothing. In the subway you get the best of all worlds. The rich the poor and those in the middle. That’s the beauty about the subway it doesn’t discriminate. No matter how much New York gentrifies. Underground, The subway will always remain the same. Someone has to tell these stories from an unbiased view.