Underground New York Public Library

The Underground New York Public Library is a visual library featuring the Reading-Riders of the NYC subways.
This project is not affiliated with The New York Public Library


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What do you normally say when people confront you about taking photos of them? I mean, what's their usual reaction? I've always been fascinated with street photography, but I once got yelled at because a street vendor thought I was taking a photo of her when in fact I was trying to get a shot of a building behind. Haven't really tried taking anything downtown since.


It’s typically a quiet process.The most common reaction is just a bemused facial expression. I’m usually the one saying things first, in response to the silent questions. I explain what I saw and why I wanted to capture it. 

I was also yelled at once by someone who I didn’t photograph. He was a street performer, and I was wearing my camera as usual when I passed him. He shouted at me that I shouldn’t photograph him, even though I wasn’t of mind or in motion to do so at all. It was unpleasant, and I know how such encounters can slow you down. If you go out and try again though, the good and the great experiences will start to happen too, more often, so long as you stay attuned to each moment. 


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