Loneliness is New York’s leitmotif. This feeling is palpable everywhere in the city—a place filled with 8 million people, many of whom are immigrants and transplants. I witness the isolation and seclusion every day. There are different shades of it. The loneliness of the castaways of the society, the invisible among the crowds, the homeless, the old, the illegal immigrants not speaking any English, on the margins of fast paced New York life; the loneliness of an Uber driver who fled Venezuela leaving his family behind, sighing with relief when I quickly switch to Spanish. Other, more subtle shades of loneliness, like the one palpable among people I talk to or on dating apps, the loneliness of masses staring at a their phones' screens, their devices making sure they're distracted enough not to have to spend a single minute in silence with themselves. Loneliness of a middle aged Ukrainian woman behind the counter in my local supermarket who tells me in Russian I remind her of her son whom she left behind in a war torn country and whom she hasn't seen in two years. Loneliness of people who don't go home for Christmas. Loneliness of a young model backstage at a fashion week. Finally, loneliness of someone who doesn't believe in a god, someone who slowly comes to terms with the fundamental randomness and uncertainty of our world.
I moved to New York from Europe in late 2014 after having been on the road for over a decade. I'd lived in six different countries changing locations every year. I came to New York to make photography a way of making a living while continuing my street work started here during my previous visits. It was after three months spent in New York in the Spring of 2012 that I felt a calling to move here - the city seduced me. I'd go out every other day and I'd spend hours roaming the streets randomly exploring the boroughs, from Coney Island to Jamaica, Queens, sometimes not knowing exactly where I was (this was pre-google maps era for me). A body of work was born, I wanted to keep at it so I came up with a plan to come back and be able to stay for a longer while. It took me another two years to execute it.
New York keeps surprising me even after almost 4 years of living here. I see it as a marriage of heaven and hell. All walks of life from all over the world walk the same streets of Manhattan - this bizarre Tower of Babel is a true feast for a street photographer. The city fascinates me one day and makes me think of leaving the other. I know many New Yorkers feel the same way.
Ironically, despite New York's density, it is not hard to feel alone. So many people are focused on money or careers, that's why they come here, there's little time left for relationships or hanging out. William Klein said of New York it is a monument to the dollar. The dollar is responsible for everything, good or bad. Everybody comes for it, no one can resist it. Everyone's busy. Although it isn't difficult to find company, many of the interactions we have with each other are shallow. It's easy to be lonely and anonymous in a city like this.