NY Diary: The City in Glorious, Raw, Gritty Black and White

All images by Federico Chiesa. Used with Creative Commons Permission.

When you think about a lot of the more famous photos of NYC, it’s easy to bring to mind the grit that you’ve known about it. That’s what Federico Chiesa seems to be conveying in his series, NY Diary. While toting along his Leica M9 and a Voigtlander 25mm lens, he documented a lot of happenings in the city while on a trip here.

Many of his images convey the emotions of people and are a play on various factors within a scene. These factors and elements are only brought together better using black and white.

The people in Federico’s work are folks in typically some sort of weird, perplexing, or tough situation. It’s easy to feel for the woman sitting alone in the bar depending on your background and age–but it’s also interesting to see the contrast of the gritty city with some of the more well dressed and polished professionals walking about.

In fact, these characters are really at the center of Federico’s street photography. While some photographers try to look for lines, contrast, lighting, and shadows to tell a story, Federico seems to instead just focus on the people that all these crazy things are happening to.

Very few of them seem happy or like they’ve got a cheery story to tell. Despite these folks not seeming to be in any sort of homelessness or truly awful state, NY Diary is surely a documentation of the fact that all these people truly do have some sort of problems. When you think about this from the standpoint of a documentarian you can consider it to be a personal style but also as documenting someone who puts up an emotion that grabs you. Considering how intense NY’ers are, it makes sense.