On The Streets: New York by Richard Bram

Issue 48

I call myself a Street Photographer, though once one would have said “I’m a photographer” and that’s what it would have meant. Most of my photographs originate there in the street, in the ambient weirdness of everyday life. They are not staged or created artificially; reality is plenty strange enough. Street Photography may be the single most difficult photographic genre. It is a fierce challenge: so many frames, so few photographs. The hit rate is so low that the editing process can be downright heartbreaking.

I’m an urban man. My adult life has been spent in the centers of cities rather than suburbs. Cities are stressful: the pressures of work, social interaction, constant noise, dirt and lack of private space all add to the tension. This is what makes them interesting to a photographer: There’s always something going on. These photographs represent strands that have always run through my street work: romance, humor, angst.

My beginnings as a public relations photographer taught me to be especially aware of two things: A) background, what’s behind the subject; and B) “the significant gesture,” something that animates the scene. My earlier street work often emphasized the first, carefully juxtaposing foreground and background for visual or humorous effect. The pictures I’ve been making here in New York in the last few years are more concerned with gesture, whether explicit or implied, to give a photo interest and gravity. I’m beginning to look at more complex formal composition and wider fields of view when editing the photos.

Since 1984, I’ve built a career and reputation from my black and white work. But when you've been working a long time in one way, you have to ask yourself "Am I in a groove or just caught in a rut?" Turning to color seriously in 2010 has been a way to shake myself up and to give myself a new challenge in my work. Color is much harder to do well: one must deal with the new set of variables that color brings, in addition to all the problems of composition and moment that are always there. It has re-invigorated me and my work.

You can purchase Richard's photograph Sno-Cone, SoHo, New York 2011 from Fraction Editions.

Richard Bram is a New York City based photographer.
To view more of Richarad's work, please visit his website.

(Editor's Note: Richard Bram is not related to David Bram. Somehow.)

  Nails, SoHo, New York 2011 

Nails, SoHo, New York 2011 

  Doll, Times Square, New York 2012 

Doll, Times Square, New York 2012 

  Sno-Cone, SoHo, New York 2011 

Sno-Cone, SoHo, New York 2011 

  White Scarf, SoHo, New York 2011 

White Scarf, SoHo, New York 2011 

  Evolution, SoHo, New York 2011 

Evolution, SoHo, New York 2011 

 R ed Hanky, Financial District, New York 2012 

Red Hanky, Financial District, New York 2012 

  Dominican Day, Sixth Avenue, New York, 2005 

Dominican Day, Sixth Avenue, New York, 2005 

  Stars, Lincoln Center, New York 2010 

Stars, Lincoln Center, New York 2010 

  Psychic Orchids, NoLita, New York, 2012 

Psychic Orchids, NoLita, New York, 2012 

  Yankees Fan, Financial District, New York 2012 

Yankees Fan, Financial District, New York 2012 

  Red Tie, Financial District, New York 2012 

Red Tie, Financial District, New York 2012 

  Yellow Coat, Fifth Avenue, New York 2012 

Yellow Coat, Fifth Avenue, New York 2012 

  Scotch & Soda, NoLita, New York 2012 

Scotch & Soda, NoLita, New York 2012 

  Fifth Avenue & 56th Street, New York 2012 

Fifth Avenue & 56th Street, New York 2012 

  White Converse, SoHo, New York 2012 

White Converse, SoHo, New York 2012 

  White Shoelaces, 14th Street, New York 2011 

White Shoelaces, 14th Street, New York 2011 

  Zuccotti Park, New York 2010 

Zuccotti Park, New York 2010 

  Quinceañera, Central Park, New York 2011 

Quinceañera, Central Park, New York 2011 

  Millenium Hilton, New York 2010 

Millenium Hilton, New York 2010 

  William & Fulton Streets, New York 2012 

William & Fulton Streets, New York 2012