This trip to New York City was my first time there in about 15 years. I have always admired several photographers who were known for capturing New York street photography. Some of my favorites are Joel Meyerowitz, Vivian Maier, Jill Freeman, Gordon Parks, and Saul Leiter. My work isn’t anywhere close to their incredible street photography. Regardless, I aspire to make photographs as impactful and inspiring as theirs.

I had never done night photography on film before. I thought this trip would be an excellent opportunity to do it. Just before the trip, I bought a roll of ILFORD Delta 3200 Professional film, it’s black and white and very grainy. It’s really grainy because of the high ISO but it is also great for low light situations. I shot the photos on my Nikon FM2, a popular camera among journalists in the 1990s, with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens.

I spent a whole evening walking in and around Times Square. It was well and full of people walking around. It was a perfect place to capture life happening at night. I focused on capturing what it was like to hang out in Times Square for an evening.

Luckily, I saw a lot of interesting people and moments which made it a very productive evening. I captured tourists, locals, street vendors, a celebrity (well, a poster of one), NYPD officers, and a man getting busted for public intoxication. It was inspiring and exciting walking the same streets that the photographers I have admired for so many years have walked. They obviously have a much more intimate relationship with NYC, more than I ever will. But I didn’t let that stop me. I was there to watch and learn. To experience something I have dreamed of doing for many years, even if it was just for a weekend, to be a New York street photographer.

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I developed the photos at a local photography lab near where I live in Deep Ellum, Dallas. I then scanned the negatives at home. When I saw the photos on my computer I was really pleased with how they came out. I did very little editing on them other than increasing the contrast and some minor light adjustments. I didn’t want to lose the feeling that the film provided. The stark black and white grainy film of Ilford Delta made these images look beautiful and mysterious. And that’s how see New York City, this massive beautiful mysterious place.

These photos originally appeared on my website.

~ Matthew

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Avatar - Matthew T Rader

Matthew T Rader

Matthew T Rader is a Dallas-based photographer who has been shooting photos for over 15 years. He mainly shoots street photography and portraits. He also has a few ongoing series that explores consumerism and gentrification in the Dallas area. He shoots on...

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    1. Thanks a lot Victor! Haha they do, I was excited to witness them busting someone, that guy was drinking a bottle of liquor out of bottle in a bag and they stopped him to ask him what is in the bag and he said nothing, lol. They then pulled out the bottle and started talking to him about it. I didn’t wait around long enough to see if he got arrested.

  1. Enjoyed seeing your photos of the Times Square area. It’s like a microcosm of the whole world in a small space. Your photos brought back some nice memories of my all-too-brief time living and working there.