All images by Luc Kordas. Used with permission.
For years, New York City has been a mecca for street photographers looking to capture unique moments occurring around us. Spend time in New York City during anything short of a hurricane or massive snow storm and chances are you’ll be surrounded by locals and tourists alike going about their lives, moving from one destination to the next. In his latest series, “DAYDREAMERS,” New York based fine art, portrait, and street photographer Luc Kordas (who we’ve previously showcased on The Phoblographer) focuses on common individuals experiencing quiet moments with their eyes shut among the crowds of New York.
Phoblographer: What was the motivation behind DAYDREAMERS, your latest project?
Luc: While looking at my photos I noticed I had a lot of shots with people with their eyes shut. Those photos had an eerie look to them. A lot of them were accidental, but not all. When you take pictures of people, especially crowds or groups, you will often catch that special fraction of a second when people blink.
Normally, if you’re a a portrait/wedding/events photographer, you delete those frames, that’s why photographers shooting groups always take a couple of shots
of the same scene – to avoid the “bad” “closed eyes” shots. I, on the other hand, found those scenes interesting. If I have two similar frames, one of them with someone with their eyes opened and the other with their eyes closed, I often go for the latter, even in my portrait work. Those people look like they are caught daydreaming, lost in their thoughts, either alone or among the crowds. Once I realized I had more than a few of those intriguing scenes, I went back to my archives to look for more.
Phoblographer: Did you actively seek out these daydreamers, or were they people you just happened upon around New York?
Luc:: Like most of my street work, this wasn’t planned at all. When it comes to street, I don’t go out and shoot with a project in mind, I’m more of a let’s-see-what-life-brings-today kind of photographer. All of those people are strangers and most of the pictures are accidental, I just happened to catch them with their eyes closed. To me, in the genre of street photography, it doesn’t matter whether photos are intentional or accidental as long as they are not staged. Most of the street photographers I know are very adamant about luck not having anything to do with their work. I am absolutely comfortable admitting that, with the exception of the shot of a guy in a suit sitting in Bryant Park – which by the way is the latest addition shot this month – all of those photos were lucky in-between shots. To me what matters is the end result – photos which give me that strange feeling of being able to enter those people’s minds. Now that the series was born, I might be able to pursue those daydreamers consciously across town. The guy in Bryant Park is a good example of that, because when I saw him sitting there two weeks ago, I immediately thought this would be a valuable addition to that series that I had already had in mind.
Phoblographer: What is your favorite photo in this series? What do you think this particular daydreamer was thinking about?
Luc:: If I have to pick just one, the favorite so far would be the one of a girl standing in rain, looking up. It was shot earlier this year. The composition isn’t great, I do wish I had composed it better and there was more going on at the edges of that frame, but the scene itself is magical. I think rain adds to the whole atmosphere of mystery, maybe even sadness. I shot it during Red Hook Crit (fixed gear bike racing event) in Brooklyn. I hoped for rain that day, I knew the photos would turn out better and I got what I wanted. This girl looks like she’s enjoying the rain, which is unusual for most humans.
Phoblographer: As someone who has his feet in both the fine art photography world as well as the street/documentary photography world, do you approach them differently, if at all?
Luc: Those are very different worlds. Fine art is about making your vision happen, being creative and exploring, street and documentary are both rooted in reality, you
photograph what already is. You can find an interesting angle or perspective, but it’s definitely more about what life brings rather than creating your own world.
The Phoblographer: What are you shooting with these days?
Luc: I literally just lost one of my cameras yesterday. I think I left it in a cab so… I’ll have to look for a substitute.
Phoblographer: Is DAYDREAMERS an ongoing series that you’ll be working on? I feel like this can easily be an ongoing, long term project.
Luc: Definitely. This could go on forever.
You can discover more about Luc’s work from our previous features The Fashion World is Superficial, Documenting Hasidic Jews in New York, and Luc Kordas Captures The Emotion And Soul Of Dancers, as well as his Instagram and website.