If you’re someone who lives in Brooklyn and, like me, still enjoys film photography, there are three spots you should know about!
992 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Photo life is my go-to spot for developing. They have it ready within an hour and charge just $5 to develop and scan a roll of 35mm color film, and $8 for black and white or 120mm film. By far the quickest and most affordable place I’ve found to digitize my film shots!
1717 Broadway Suite 208 Brooklyn, NY 11207
Dom recently opened Brooklyn’s first Black-owned camera shop! It’s right on Broadway by the Chauncey St JZ stop, so a perfect location for me. He sells film, including rare and hard-to-find expired film rolls (I bought one from 1993!) and film cameras/accessories. But what’s more is that he has a huge line of awesome film nerd merch from hoodies to fanny packs, lighters to rolling papers. His shop is a must-visit for any photography lover.
Brooklyn Film Camera
203 Harrison Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11237
BFC likewise carries analog photography cameras, film stock, and other gear. And they do it all out of a super cool East Williamsburg warehouse location. These guys carry my all-time personal favorite film stock (CineStill!) so I’ll be a customer of theirs for the foreseeable future. They also recently did a collab with the Met and had an 8x10 polaroid station set up at Elsewhere.
Last week I finally made it to Fotografiska New York. After 8 years at the original Stockholm location, the brothers who run Fotografiska decided to open up an NYC location, celebrating its grand opening in December 2019. It was a short-lived run, however, as soon thereafter they had to shutter due to covid-19. When I got an email saying they were re-opening at reduced capacity with new health and safety measures in place, I knew I had to go!
At the time I was working on writing my bio for a photography contest (if you’re creative I’m sure you can relate to that painful process), and really needed some inspiration. I decided to finally get up and get out to Fotografiska where I planned to pay special attention to the artists bios and other writings which accompanied the images. And of course, photographic inspiration is something I’m always looking for anyway, and museums are a great way to find just that–as I wrote about here.
Fotografiska is not technically a museum–since it has no permanent collection and is for-profit. And while the experience is definitely like that of going to a museum, you can tell there’s something different about this place. Everything about it exudes “cool” from the items they carry in the gift shop, to the works they show, and to the building itself! It’s housed in a national historic landmark building, whose Renaissance Revival–style exterior is a sight to be seen. Inside the stairwells and elevators all feature wall-sized photographs that remind you that you’re in a place where contemporary photography is what it’s all about. Perfect for what I was looking for!
Housed inside were 6 exhibits across 4 floors. The top floor featured a small exhibit of protest photography, but was primarily a bar/cafe space, which looked like it must have been really swingin’ before covid-19. However, devoid of people (besides me) and with an empty bar setup, it felt more like an attic of an old European estate, which is cool in its own right.
The next floor down featured an exhibition of video portraits of death row exonerees, with speakers playing audio interviews of the exonerees telling their stories. It was very moving, unsettling, and powerful. Its power was somewhat diluted by the physical experience of it, however. The screens were pretty close to each other, so while you couldn't see 2 at the same time it was hard to focus on one story without being distracted by the sound coming from the one next to it. Also it was so dark that walking from one screen to the next, sometimes having to take turns, felt very treacherous. I would’ve taken out my cell phone flashlight if there weren’t other people on the floor with me.
The remaining 4 exhibits shared the remaining 2 floors. One in particular, a collaboration with VICE, was definitely in keeping with Fotografiska’s ultra-cool vibes. It featured works from quite a few young or up-and-coming photographers from all over the world and right here in NYC, which is something I really appreciated. Reading these folks’ bios helped me come to a revelation: most bios aren’t great, so stop sweating so much about yours! Haha
Overall all of the works hung at Fotografiska were awesome and inspiring, it’s 100% worth a visit. Right now tickets are only $24, and you do need to reserve a specific time for admittance. You can do so here.
To get there take the 6 train to 23rd St and take the Northeast exit, you’ll find Fotografiska right at the top of the stairs!
I’ve been proud to serve on the staff of Brooklyn Botanic Garden as the Photographer/Video Producer for one year now. To celebrate my one year anniversary of bringing people close to the world of plants through my photography, I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for taking excellent botanical photos.
1. Set a wide aperture for a blurry background and select focus. Setting your aperture to a wide setting (5.6 or wider) will help you achieve the blurred background effect that has become super popular in recent years (think Humans of New York). I find that this technique lends itself splendidly to plant photography. Just be sure to take your time when focusing, part of what makes this effect so dynamic is when your subject in pin-sharp! I recommend using the viewfinder (not the led screen, if you have one) and focusing manually, leave the auto-focus to wider shots or those with a deeper depth of field!
2. Play with saturation. If you use Photoshop, Lightroom, or some other photo editing program, I recommend you play with the saturation levels for different effects. People often add saturation, but one thing I like to do from time to time is de-saturate! You might be thinking: aren’t the vivid colors part of what’s appealing about botanical photographs? And yes that’s true! But I also think desaturating can result in some very striking images as well, as in the example below.
3. Get close. Related to #1, getting up close and personal with your subject can result in some really cool images, especially with botanicals and other natural subjects. Details will really pop and you may notice features you didn’t observe with the naked eye. You’ll need some good glass (lens) to do this. A macro lens would be best, but I get by with a nifty fifty (50mm prime lens).
4. Get wide. The flipside to #3, a wider shot which includes multiple plants (and even insects like in the example below) can help communicate the diversity of plant life in a given environment, whether controlled as the Garden is or in the wild, and give viewers more of a sense of space. Multiple subjects can contribute to a nice and rich image.
5. Remember the leaves! Flowers are gorgeous, but plants have so many interesting and attractive features to notice. Pay attention to leaves, stems, bark, seeds, fruits, and other features as well. Ignoring them would do a great disservice to both your photography and the Plant Kingdom itself!