NY Through the Lens - New York City Photography

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New York City: Skyscrapers - Midtown Manhattan

Skyscrapers are

stalagmites

fed

by dreams

and lofty

aspirations

fed by soil

nurtured with

loss and desire

propelling forward

into a sky

full of 

possibility.
—-

Taken on a recent afternoon with my phone as storm clouds circled over midtown Manhattan.

—-

Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it): 

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book


—-

View: “New York City - Skyscraper in Midtown on a Stormy Afternoon” in my photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City: Skyscrapers - Midtown Manhattan

Skyscrapers are

stalagmites

fed

by dreams

and lofty

aspirations

fed by soil

nurtured with

loss and desire

propelling forward

into a sky

full of

possibility.

—-

Taken on a recent afternoon with my phone as storm clouds circled over midtown Manhattan.

—-

Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book

—-

View: “New York City - Skyscraper in Midtown on a Stormy Afternoon” in my photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City: Skyline, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge 

It’s hard for me not to get emotional when I view New York City from certain vantage points. As the child of immigrant to the United States, I have always carried with me the weight of what these views represent.

——

My mother was born in Poland right before the start of World War II. The war hit Poland hard with most of its population sent off to concentration camps. Her family was split up due to a transgression involving my grandfather and a loaf of bread (or a pig, there are a host of different tales surrounding this moment in time). My grandfather ended up in a concentration camp and my grandmother and her two daughters ended up in a labor camp. The family spent a few years enduring torture and horrific circumstances in a variety of camps.

When the war was about to end, my grandfather heard a rumor that his concentration camp would be burned to the ground in a matter of weeks and with what I can only imagine to be no less than steel resolve, he and a couple of the other men in the camp spent a few weeks digging a hole under a fence in the camp to escape the camp.

I have played the tales I was told tearfully throughout the years over and over in my mind and it’s still hard for me to imagine the feeling that my grandfather must have felt when he came across the American Red Cross who must have seemed like a fantastical beacon of hope after years of what he had just endured.

The American Red Cross gave him a bicycle and a rough idea of where the rest of the remaining labor camps were. Severely malnourished and skeletal, he took what little energy he had left and rode that bicycle through the scattered remnants of camps clinging to the hope that he would find my grandmother.

And he did.

What are the chances of something like that?

I don’t know.

But I do know that my grandfather’s next steps were to use his former ties as a merchant marine to secure a way for the family to make it to the United States. It took a lot of negotiation but he was able to move my grandmother, my mother, and her sister to Detroit where many Eastern European war survivors were moving.

And so my mother, malnourished and traumatized at the tender age of 9 years old, started her life over in the United States in a community that did everything in their power to lavish food and love on those who made it out of the horrors of World War II into the open arms of the promised land of mid-twentieth century America.

She spent her teenage years watching Hollywood musicals* and longing for life in the Big Apple where anything seemed possible. And so, after she fell head over heels in love with my father at the tender age of 19 years old, they married and took the paltry amount of money they had and moved to New York City without looking back.

—-

We would visit my Uncle Dan in Brooklyn Heights when I was little. He was an eccentric, larger-than-life figure who painted impressionist-style paintings of the Brooklyn and Manhattan waterfront since he had a near perfect view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

 I would run to the window in his office when we visited, careful to not knock over his easel, and stare at the Brooklyn Bridge with saucer-like eyes.

My mother would come over and hold my hand. Her eyes would well-up with tears and we would stand there silently.

I knew that this view meant the world to her.

And it meant the world to me because I knew that just to be in front of the amalgam of her teenage desires, standing there years after everything she went through during the war, anything was possible for me,

in this city of dreams.

—-

—-

Taken yesterday from the 72nd floor of 4 World Trade Center with the A7. It’s a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Manhattan, and Brooklyn from above.

—-

*It’s my mother I have to thank for my steady diet of musicals growing up. In fact, my first passive NYC geography lesson was gleaned from the musical On the Town when Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin sing: ” New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town. The Bronx is up but the Battery’s down”, part of a fabulously absurd yet fantastic musical sequence accompanied by great views of 1940s New York City.

—-

Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it): 

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book


—-

View: “New York City - Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge - View from 4 World Trade Center” in my photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City: Skyline, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge

It’s hard for me not to get emotional when I view New York City from certain vantage points. As the child of immigrant to the United States, I have always carried with me the weight of what these views represent.

——

My mother was born in Poland right before the start of World War II. The war hit Poland hard with most of its population sent off to concentration camps. Her family was split up due to a transgression involving my grandfather and a loaf of bread (or a pig, there are a host of different tales surrounding this moment in time). My grandfather ended up in a concentration camp and my grandmother and her two daughters ended up in a labor camp. The family spent a few years enduring torture and horrific circumstances in a variety of camps.

When the war was about to end, my grandfather heard a rumor that his concentration camp would be burned to the ground in a matter of weeks and with what I can only imagine to be no less than steel resolve, he and a couple of the other men in the camp spent a few weeks digging a hole under a fence in the camp to escape the camp.

I have played the tales I was told tearfully throughout the years over and over in my mind and it’s still hard for me to imagine the feeling that my grandfather must have felt when he came across the American Red Cross who must have seemed like a fantastical beacon of hope after years of what he had just endured.

The American Red Cross gave him a bicycle and a rough idea of where the rest of the remaining labor camps were. Severely malnourished and skeletal, he took what little energy he had left and rode that bicycle through the scattered remnants of camps clinging to the hope that he would find my grandmother.

And he did.

What are the chances of something like that?

I don’t know.

But I do know that my grandfather’s next steps were to use his former ties as a merchant marine to secure a way for the family to make it to the United States. It took a lot of negotiation but he was able to move my grandmother, my mother, and her sister to Detroit where many Eastern European war survivors were moving.

And so my mother, malnourished and traumatized at the tender age of 9 years old, started her life over in the United States in a community that did everything in their power to lavish food and love on those who made it out of the horrors of World War II into the open arms of the promised land of mid-twentieth century America.

She spent her teenage years watching Hollywood musicals* and longing for life in the Big Apple where anything seemed possible. And so, after she fell head over heels in love with my father at the tender age of 19 years old, they married and took the paltry amount of money they had and moved to New York City without looking back.

—-

We would visit my Uncle Dan in Brooklyn Heights when I was little. He was an eccentric, larger-than-life figure who painted impressionist-style paintings of the Brooklyn and Manhattan waterfront since he had a near perfect view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

I would run to the window in his office when we visited, careful to not knock over his easel, and stare at the Brooklyn Bridge with saucer-like eyes.

My mother would come over and hold my hand. Her eyes would well-up with tears and we would stand there silently.

I knew that this view meant the world to her.

And it meant the world to me because I knew that just to be in front of the amalgam of her teenage desires, standing there years after everything she went through during the war, anything was possible for me,

in this city of dreams.

—-

—-

Taken yesterday from the 72nd floor of 4 World Trade Center with the A7. It’s a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Manhattan, and Brooklyn from above.

—-

*It’s my mother I have to thank for my steady diet of musicals growing up. In fact, my first passive NYC geography lesson was gleaned from the musical On the Town when Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin sing: ” New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town. The Bronx is up but the Battery’s down”, part of a fabulously absurd yet fantastic musical sequence accompanied by great views of 1940s New York City.

—-

Information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book

—-

View: “New York City - Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge - View from 4 World Trade Center” in my photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

New York City: Photography

—-

About my photography style:

Every once in a while I get questions about my style and my focus. I figured it would be nice to share what I am interested in exploring with my photography which may shed light on my style.

I am focused on distilling the essence of New York City and locations around the world into distinctive visual remnants that resonate in a variety of ways.

Endlessly haunted by a sense of saudade and sehnsucht: a deep longing for a place that is unidentifiable but somehow familiar and indicative of what could be identified as home, I am on a never-ending quest to attempt to imbue my photography of cities and landscapes with this complex notion of nostalgic longing.

I am fascinated and interested in exploring how certain tones can produce feelings of different forms of nostalgia and how color or lack of color influences memory and desire.

Most of my photography is heavily influenced by cinema, music, and other art forms as I have a background in fine art (painting and art history).

—-

And since a few people have asked across social media and via email, I figured I would share the link again. My NYC photography collection can be found here (all for sale as prints):

New York City Photography by Vivienne Gucwa

—-

And finally, here is some information about my New York City photography book which is releasing in stores and online in the autumn of 2014 (including where to order it):

NY Through The Lens: A New York Coffee Table Book

—-

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me (all the contact links are here on my Tumblr). I get swamped with messages but I do try to answer questions when I have the time :)

—-

View: My New York City photography portfolio, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.