Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment, email or flickr me and let me know their favorite pictures from my 365 project. All of your notes were very kind and I really appreciate all the support. While everyone is on the same page about liking my photos (*blush*), it seemed like everyone had a different opinion on which ones were the best. That meant I had to do most of the narrowing down myself, but when I got stuck or needed a tie-breaker (which was often), I turned to your votes to help me make decide. So that's how I came to my decision.
Now, without further adieu...in no particular order...the best of Yvonne’s 365:
The majority of my photography is taken on the streets of New York City, and it is always my goal to capture the essence, or a slice of life, of the place where I live and other people who inhabit it with me. I happen to love photo-journalism style the best and whenever I look at the pictures of photographers who do it well, it always looks so easy. But in real life practice, it is really hard because you are essentially waiting for a picture to form in front of you with a nice composition, a great emotion, a sense of movement and lack of clutter. You have little control over the subject and you just have to anticipate things will happen. I don’t particularly have great reflexes (don’t ever attempt to throw a ball at me) and I tend to zone out rather than pay attention to my surroundings so this was a challenge for me. What I discovered over the year is that it just takes a lot of practice, courage, (and a bit of luck) to be in the right moment. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t.
#133 - Carl Schurz Park
Sometimes you take a picture and you immediately know that you got something. That was the case with this photo. I was walking around Carl Schurz Park, taking pictures and not loving anything. But then I saw this couple on the grass and when I snapped this photo, I knew this was my photo of the day. It’s not necessarily a pretty picture, but I like how it tells a story about a summer day in New York City, the need for a little rest, the hot sun shining down on them. It all feels very timeless to me, especially when I processed it in black and white.
#327 - Ash Wednesday
#327 - Ash Wednesday
On the other hand, sometimes I come home after a day of picture-taking thinking I have nothing, and I am pleasantly surprised to find I am wrong. Ash Wednesday is a weird day in New York City because you see so many people walking around with ashes on their foreheads. It is always startling (what's that on your face?), and I think it looks somewhat morbid (oh, right, ASHES). I heard that there was a church near my work where the priests stood by the entrance so you could go and get your ashes without sitting through mass, and I thought it would be a good photo opportunity. When I got to the church during my lunch hour, there were lines of people waiting to get their ashes and lines of people coming out. I took this picture of this man leaving the church, with a line of people following him. I was disappointed that most of the pictures I took looked to be kind of sloppy and uninspired (I felt a little nervous photographing a religious ceremony and was trying to be discreet). When I came home, I realized this one might have potential. After I cropped it slightly and changed it to black and white and I was struck by the realization that I had a great shot that captured the mood that day brings. It’s become one of my favorites.
#69 - Yoga in Bryant Park
One of the ways I could improve as a photographer is getting over my shyness. Even though I take a lot of pictures of strangers, I am kind of terrified of it. I often try to take pictures of people without their knowing and have often avoided taking great shots altogether in fear of getting “found out.” It is kind of stupid. (I have only been yelled at by a stranger once in 365 days.) I have gotten better over the year but I still have a lot of work to do. I love this picture, which was 69 in the series, because I was starting to get really annoyed with myself for letting my fear of people sabotage my photos, and I made a conscious decision to try to get over it. I went to this yoga in the park class and took a ton of pictures of people. I saw this girl, who was an assistant instructor or something, and was captivated by her beauty and her yoga skills. I stood by this woman for maybe 10 minutes and took a bunch of photos of her. She must have known that I was doing it, but she never acknowledged me. It boosted my confidence and made me a little less afraid. For that day anyway.
#151 - New York Fashion Week
I really enjoy taking pictures of feet. It brings a neat perspective on life. Back when I took a photo class, I presented a picture of feet to the class and my teacher said, “This is a funny picture but is a good picture?” I think the answer was no, but I don’t care. I still like pictures of feet. I walked around Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week to see if I can take some pictures of some fabulous people. (That’s one secret of getting over taking pictures of strangers--take pictures of people who want to get their picture taken). I was there in between shows so I didn’t see as much fabulousness as I had hoped. I was just sitting on the stairs, ready to call it a day, when I saw this woman come out of a black car with sleek, bare legs wearing the most terrific shoes. I looked through my camera viewfinder and was pleased to see the other legs framing hers, especially those wearing the running sneakers, for contrast. This picture was inspired by one of my heroes, Bill Cunningham, who happened to do a photo essay about shoes that same week.
#231 - Bird in Jersey City
Remember how I told you that taking a good picture is sometimes about luck? I was having a meeting with one of my copywriting clients in Jersey City, NJ and had a few moments to spare so I took some pictures of the Manhattan skyline right outside their offices. I saw a line of birds on a rail along the water and I wanted to capture them. I have a fixed lens on my camera (no zoom) so I had to walk as close as I could to frame the birds in the shot. With every inch I got closer, one by one, the birds would fly away. Just when I got to the perfect position, there was only one bird left. I took a few shots and then saw it was about to fly away. I had one chance to get this photo, and I got it. YES!
Here are some Honorable Mentions of my favorite street photography through the year: #17 Waiting for the Bus, #39 Lunch in Midtown, #132 View from The High Line, #194 Surprise Rainbow, #221 Leaves on the Street, #233 Tourists in Central Park, and #360 Blue and Brown Eyed Dog.
Stay tuned for the rest of the top 10 and The Ham reader favorite!