TRACY BARBOUR

Blog

The blog of Tracy Barbour, a New York City Street Photographer and Photojournalist

Big Lights Will Inspire You

Six months ago I packed up all my sh*t and moved to NYC. Well, not ALL of it. Some of it is scattered. I've got stuff back in Texas at two different places and I'm pretty sure my first NYC friend is pretty sick of my lone suitcase sitting in her apartment (although her cats may be loving it.) How do I know it was six months ago? Because I count every single month. Hell, I count every day. Another 24 hours down.

Cars pass under a Brooklyn overpass in the rain.

What was I thinking? What am I looking for? I was looking to leap. I am for inspiration and I was looking to live out my childhood dream of being an artist in the greatest city ever. 

I'm still looking. 

Because big lights don't necessarily inspire and big cities don't necessarily welcome you with open arms. Anyone who tells you they were ever immediately a success in NYC is lying through their teeth just to save their poor heart from breaking into a million pieces.

Fake it till you make it!

About a month or so ago, I started feeling my tenacity slide a bit. What am I saying? It slid ALOT. It slide so far that I lost any motivation to pick up my camera. Folks, NYC has NOT been nice to me. She's a total B and she's out for blood (or at least she has been to me.) 

The Halsey MTA subway stop gets covered in rain in Brooklyn.

But...every single day I pack up my bag, I leave the house rain or shine and I ALWAYS carry my camera. It doesn't matter if I take a single photo that day. My camera is always with me, always ready and always willing, even when I'm not. No one else is going to take those images for me. Most of my days are spent alone. There is no one there to be camera twins with me. There is no one there to pat me on the back and say "great job." There is no one else who is exactly like me, taking exactly the same photos in exactly the same places. There is no one there to "work the corner" or whatever else you are supposed to be doing as a street photographer. 

You just have to wing it. That's all there is to it. There are no rules, except the ones you do or don't make up for yourself.

Today I stood in the middle of an overpass in Brooklyn and snapped too numerous to count photos of cars going by under me. I stood there because it was semi-dry despite the fact my feet were soaked. I stood and watched and I waited and I used my camera the only way I know how. My not-so-fancy black Olympus OMD EM1. The camera I just am barely paying off, covered in gaffers tape with brassing on the edges. The camera that some days bangs into subway doors (praise for filters) and other times sits silently tucked away in my bag. 

Big lights? Sure. Inspiration? That's up to you to find it.