Richard Howe is a dedicated man.
His project, called The Manhattan Street Corners, involves him creating â€œa comprehensive photographic portrait of everyday life at street level in daytime Manhattanâ€.
To do this, he â€œsystematically photographed each and every one of the islandâ€™s roughly 11,000 street corners (the exact number is a matter of definition and, in some ambiguous instances, even a matter of judgment).â€
One of my intentions in undertaking The Manhattan Street Corners project was to catch the island at a single, if necessarily extended, moment in its history, which meant taking the photographs in the shortest time possible for me working alone.
I began photographing in mid-March, 2006, and finished in mid-November of that year. A total of 82 shooting days were required. About a third of the days in this eight-month period were either unsuitable, weather-wise, for shooting, or were pre-empted by other obligations. The initial post-production work (downloading, backing up, provisional editing, etc.) following each shoot typically took up another whole day.
Afterwards, in 2007, I caught a handful of corners I found I had missed along the way and also did some necessary reshooting. I still, occasionally, discover another missed corner or decide to reshoot one. These post-2006 photographs amount to perhaps 2% of the total.
I photographed each corner just as I found it, almost always as seen from its diagonally opposite corner. Some of the photographs have no people and no traffic, others are completely dominated by people or even, in some instances, by traffic; the majority are somewhere in between. Most of the photographs simply show what people were doing on the corner when I got there: crossing the street or waiting to cross it, shopping, hanging out, riding a bicycle, and so on â€” in short, doing what people do at almost any street corner anywhere in Manhattan.
I composed the photographs fairly uniformly, but not obsessively so, across the whole set, with eye-level more or less centered vertically and the corners themselves more or less centered horizontally, though the variance in both is large, especially in the placement of the corner horizontally. The field of view varies considerably, ranging from wide-angle to fairly close-up, in accord with my sense of the corner at the time. I settled on the 1 x 3 panoramic aspect ratio in order to concentrate the images on the human, sidewalk level of the streets.
Besides cropping, the images have been processed to correct perspective, to ameliorate lens and camera distortions, and to adjust exposure, white balance, saturation, and other general image parameters. I have not retouched any of the photographs.
If that’s not impressive art, then I don’t know what is! If you’d like to see more, then be sure to check out his site, because he’s archived more than half of the photos that he took, and will be adding more as he can process and post them.