New York Pictures
An Interview with Brian Dubé

Whilst looking for New York pictures on the web, a place I have imagined in my mind for many years. I came across an excellent photoblog called "New York Daily Photo" by Brian Dubé.

Brian's blog is designed to show New York in all its glory and with all its warts and all, as they say. It certainly does that via his excellent use of photography and his very enlightening and let me say entertaining narrative.

Urban and street photography can be quite challenging in the respect of capturing an image that not only illustrates the scene but also attractive to the eye, Brian's work does both.

His New York Pictures stand out from the rest for various reasons. They are varied in subject matter, they are well framed and they show a creative aptitude often missing in city-based photography.

I asked Brian a few questions about his photography and how he approaches his subject matter. I think you will find it as interesting as I did.

When did you first take up photography and what was it that first attracted you to it?

New York Pictures - First Flake by Brian Dubé

I have had some interest in photography since I was in 8th grade. However, most of my photography as an adult was taken when I was on vacation. I was not particularly serious until start of this photoblog in March, 2006.

Are there other photographers whose work or style you admire and if so who and why?

I do not study the works of others - perhaps I should do this more but I worry about being overly influenced to copy the work of others. I do like Steve McCurry's work.

What camera equipment do you use?

I started the blog with a Canon S400. After sometime, I purchased a Canon 30D with 2 basic lenses (17-85mm zoom and a 50mm fixed).

I recently upgraded my point and shoot to a Fuji Finepix. I try to not get too involved with equipment - it is easy to get very distracted and loose sight of the goal.

This is particularly important for me since I do love the technical side of things and equipment. But some of my most successful blog postings have been shot with a point and shoot.

You live New York, USA and your daily blog New York Daily is a photographic record of your life there and the ever changing city environment around you.

One of the things that really caught my eye about your work is that you seem to be able to jump from subject matter to subject matter with equal creativity, creating a unique collection of New York pictures.

For instance your great picture called "Devil ups the anti" a study of neon lights at night as opposed to " "Lost and Found" a study of a china cat placed so carefully on the sidewalk. Both so technically and creatively different, yet both so engaging in quality and subject matter.

Can you tell us a little about how your city environment inspires your work and how you approach photographing it?

New York Photos - Devil Ups the Ante by Brian Dubé

To be honest, I have always had a very broad range of interests and pursuits. I love extreme diversity and juxtaposition of contrasting elements. For example, one of the first postings I had in mind was the live poultry shop on the lower east side. In my mind's eye at the time was the image of the Waldorf Astoria hotel and the fact that you could take a short subway ride between the two.

In the East Village you have Hispanic community gardens and multimillion dollar condos. The bucolic Ramble in Central Park or the dynamism of the city streets just a short stroll away. In the subway you can find the Mayor of New York City and the homeless.

New York Pictures - Lost and Found by Brian Dubé

I've witnessed gunshots in Washington Square Park and someone stopping all the chess clocks so that the games can continue unfettered after the smoke cleared. Where else will you find this?

At this point, my postings are driven more by the text than just a photo. So, I really look for a story everywhere I go. I have many ideas in my mind and I am just looking for the situation that illustrates it.

A good example is the recent posting on Ugg boots (Ugg-ly). I have been astonished at how many people are wearing these boots and have been waiting for an opportunity.

I notice from your profile that one of your interests is design/architecture. This is also one of my favourite photographic areas and find that I am drawn particularly to modern glass and steel structures.

Do you have a particular approach to photographing architecture i.e. do you prefer to keep the images realistic, or like me, do you prefer to let the detail and light create the image.

New York Pictures - Enigma by Brian Dubé

I love buildings but this has not been of great interest to my visitors so I have limited the number of posts on architecture.

My approach is relatively straightforward with most buildings - if I can get dramatic lighting I will always try. I do plan times of day, making note before I go out to shoot where the sun will be.

I love night shots and will often photograph buildings at night. New digital cameras have excellent low light sensitivity

Finally I always like to ask interviewees to pass on a little of their experience of photography to beginners particularly to those exploring the subject of urban photography. If you could give one piece of advice to a beginner in this area what would it be?

Not to sound clichéd, but I believe in making a picture, not taking one. Careful composition and thought about the subject rather than the shotgun approach - digital equipment is a dangerous tool in this regard.

With no costs in film or processing, many photographers take an enormous number of photos of each subject, in the belief that with enough shots you are sure to get a good one. Personally I don't want to weed through thousands of trashy images.

If you to want to see more unique New York pictures, then visiting Brain's Photoblog is a must. Go to "New York Daily Photo" and experience New York City through the eyes of a creative photographer.

Don't forget bookmark it as I have done and visit, well, daily, to get a regular dose of unique New York pictures and insights.