We arrived at the Queensborough Bridge at 11am. Generally when I’m photographing alone or with friends, I like to take the coordinator role for two reasons. First, to make sure we begin early so as to make most of the day and take advantage of the abundant natural light and secondly because I’ve gotten lost in New York enough times that each mishap has led me to discover and learn more about these places that’ve turned out to be more of a virtue than a curse.
The one gullible feeling we wanted to obliterate before walking was believing we were going to capture in 3 hours something that hasn’t never been since before. It’s not as a touristy overpass as much as the Brooklyn Bridge is but the challenge was is finding how to illustrate the place as a location worth visiting without being too generic with the content.
What I enjoy doing before going anywhere is performing a quick Flickr search of the place to take a notice of the style of photographs that have been shared already and try to do something relatively different.
It’s difficult to think you’re likely to find anything interesting when you’re simply walking over a bridge unless there’s a typical sunset waiting for you up top but what can make the trek worthwhile is in being more reluctant to take shots just because you can and more because it’s distinct in nature.
I realize the approach is nothing foreign but once you’re in the moment with camera in hand, batteries fully charged, an enthusiasm to shoot and an empty memory card waiting to be pumped with images, the unexpected question of “why the f**k did I come here” can certainly come up. One of the interesting moments was in seeing how passengers from the Roosevelt Island tram were as adamant to capture a photo of us as much as we were of them.
One point to mention is that you can’t get too distracted with the panoramic views because the pathway is not as wide as one would like so you’re likely to be ran over by the high-speed bike riders.
The entire walk across the bridge would probably have taken us 30-45mins but if you’re trying to look beyond the massive structure, you have to take into account the people and details that play an intricate part in its existence. I took us about 1 hour 25 minutes because we stopped frequently and without sounding too philosophical, we began realizing there was more to just the bridge.
Some would argue it’s likely you’ll take more beautiful photographs the moment you board a plane and arrive at a place that’s more striking than what you’re leaving behind. No question being abroad is more exciting but I like to work more with reality than fantasy.
Not flying anywhere exotic doesn’t have to be the straightforward equivalence of thinking it’s not worth picking up the camera and seeing what’s out there. Walking a bridge that leads you from the town of Long Island City into Manhattan may not sound too compelling but I realize that it’s easier to get people enthusiastic about seeing photographs of something new and much more challenging to get the same reaction of a place or thing which they’ve seen time and again.
You can view the rest of the photographs from the assignment.