Be Transported to New York with Rob McCarthy
Emotive and powerful, the sounds we hear and the images we see transform our daily lives and are often best experienced together. Inspired by this, New York photographer Rob McCarthy shares the sounds and images that best capture the iconic city he calls home and tells us what makes it so unique.
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Tell us about yourself and your photography.
I'm a Japanese-American photographer focused on capturing the ordinary on the streets of contemporary New York. My work involves studying people and scenes and finding a unique frame amongst the urban chaos of the city. On any given day you can usually find me downtown photographing subjects in dramatic light and shadows.
What role does music play in your creative process? Which artists are you currently listening to?
You will always spot me on the streets with camera in hand and headphones on. I'm old-fashioned when it comes to music and listen to jazz - because of the improvisation - which is spontaneous, risky, and spur-of-the-moment. I like to approach photography in the same way. Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans are two of my all-time favorites.
Tell us about New York as a location for street photography?
It doesn't get more famous for street photography than New York. NYC is an expansive, multidimensional metropolis with a unique blend of the past and present. You might not find another city with so many different people, neighborhoods, and possibilities for street photography. It's New York and there's no place like it.
Where in New York do you find the most inspiration for your photography?
The New York Public Library. When I need a shot of inspiration I'll go and spend hours browsing through books by my favorite photographers. Never fails.
What is your favorite place in New York and why?
Chinatown. The bold colors, type-faces, and street energy can make you feel like you've travelled back in time to Hong Kong.
You arrive in NY for a weekend; where do you go first?
I would start with a walk over the three major bridges - Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge. After walking them you will have a new perspective on the history and layout of the city.
What do you do in your time off?
I like to spend my downtime browsing the used vinyl section in record shops. If I'm out seeing music you can find me sitting in the back row at the legendary Village Vanguard in the West Village.
Any hidden gems that you'd like to share?
Decibel Sake Bar in the East Village for an underground Tokyo vibe. B flat in Tribeca for a cozy jazz atmosphere - and the Polish venue Warsaw in Greenpoint for mosh pits and punk music.
Listen to Rob's playlist here:
All photography courtesy of Rob McCarthy.