Chris Zedano: STAPLE STREET
It's a bit cliché, I suppose, to talk about New York City's "characters," but arriving here from South America years ago, I couldn't help but be struck by them -- and drawn to them, performers in particular.
I was also, of course, seduced by the city's landscape, especially a small, quiet, sliver in the heart of TriBeCa called Staple Street, which I came across quite by chance one day.
There’s something about Staple Street that I can’t explain with words. Maybe it’s the narrowness of the street, which makes me feel protected, cut off from the rest of the city; or maybe it’s the arched bridge between the buildings, a sort of monument to urban connection; or maybe it’s the dilapidated sidewalk that always seems on the verge of repair but never quite makes it, a little like some of the performers I met.
The street still has a grimy, industrial, and to me, romantic feel to it despite its proximity to the trendy, high-end real estate that has spread throughout lower Manhattan like an oil slick. The people I met and photographed have maintained a similar integrity, and thus for me, provided a similar romance.
I met artists and eccentrics of all stripes -- dancers, jugglers, actors, magicians, body painters, mimes, card sharks, singers, clowns. They were vibrant, defiant, shy, sad, sly, witty, odd, exuberant, angry, giving -- a perfect representation of the city itself, and of this tiny street that dates back to at least the early 19th century.
In Europe: at the Group Exhibition at AFF Berlin - Part of the European Month of Photography Biennial in November 2010.