New York City Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

Aug 27, 2017

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Perhaps the most photographed city in the world, New York is filled with endless angles and architectural icons, a dream to anyone holding a camera. In a new book of photography simply titled New York, shot by award-winner lensman Bernhard Hartmann, the Big Apple is seen from different perspectives — no two the same. Employing multiple angles, details of the city — both new and familiar — come alive. The result is a dazzling trove of portraits of a city that seems limitless in its ability to be seen anew. Below, a look at some of the remarkable shots in this exclusive excerpt from the newly published title:

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One of the under-appreciated categories of New York “things,” which the dramatic photography in this book beautifully illustrates, are its shapes.

Lower Manhattan, view from Rockefeller Center (2013).
Lower Manhattan, view from Rockefeller Center (2013).

The ubiquity and drama of shapes celebrated in this book seem poignant and prescient, given the current breathless pace of the city’s structural transformation. It’s rare these days to walk a route in any neighborhood without confronting demolition or construction; in Manhattan at least, it’s hard to think of a city block that hasn’t had some of its buildings scooped out of it like a block of Swiss cheese.

Brooklyn Bridge (2017).
Brooklyn Bridge (2017).

The landmarks in this book seem chosen more for their graphic qualities than for their traditional touristic appeal; indeed, some of the subjects are truly that: more subject — or space — than place. By taking away the hierarchies of longevity and popularity, these pictures give us the opportunity to look at different parts of the city in a leveling way and help us see its overwhelming variety as a beautiful, defining quality.

Times Square (2013).
Times Square (2013).

The sense of otherworldliness is amplified by Hartmann’s celebration and fascination with artificial light, which takes center stage, particularly in the photos taken at night. Light broadcasts the city’s distinctive shapes and personality to the world, defining its singular character in color and brightness.

View from Jersey City, NJ (2016).
View from Jersey City, NJ (2016).

New Yorkers take variety well; their handling of visual stimulation is Olympic-caliber. A diverse sensory landscape, where neon-lit skyscrapers flank the edges of flowerbeds, is a hallmark of the New York experience. Hyper-stimulation is a given; other cities take pauses, but this one needs something new to look at on every block. As the images in this book illustrate, the visual language of New York is a constant, tantalizing banter. One never knows what it will say next.

Central Park (2013).
Central Park (2013).

New York, with photography by Bernhard Hartmann and words by Caitlin Leffel, is published by teNeues and available now on Amazon from $49.

What are some of your favorite NYC landmarks? Let us know in the comments, below.

All images by Bernhard Hartmann.

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