John Singer Sargent once said, “You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.” I am an avid people watcher and have published a book of photographs that explores this. As I note in my book, people watching in finding joy in people. I also love to people watch and sketch. Detailed here are some sketches I did last month while in a waiting room.
Yesterday, on July 30, 2021, I visited The Met. I primarily went to see the Alice Neel: People Come First exhibition (another blog entry to follow). Of course, I brought my camera. From the moment I got off the train at Penn Station, I found myself pointing my camera upward. After the museum, I wandered around Central Park and Manhattan. It was the first time I had wandered around Manhattan since the summer of 2019. While I was cognizant of the gentrifying construction horrors on what is now being called “billionaire’s row”, it was still a shock to see how much of the skyline had changed—and not for the better. I prefer the skyline when Essex House was what dominated the southwestern side of Central Park.
I hope you enjoy this photo essay. Let me know in the comments below what you think.
Last year I noted that 2018 was not a very productive year with regards to photography largely stemming from health issues. 2019 was not much better, but for different reasons. In the fall, I started a Master’s degree in Museum Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. And just before I started at CUNY SPS, I spent time working on the two photography books I self-published in November. The first book, 21st Century Coney Island, is a collection of photographs taken over the course of three years starting in the summer of 2016 and up to August 2019. Proceeds of this book will be donated to Habit for Humanity of Puerto Rico. The second book, A New Yorker in New Mexico, collects photographs from two trips, one in 2012 and another in 2018. Proceeds of this book will donated to the While they Wait fund.
The photographs I am sharing here have not been published anywhere online or in print. They were taken between February and August of 2019. I hope you enjoy this collection.
2018 was actually not a productive year for me in terms of photography. I don’t often go out on photo taking trips during the winter months because working the camera and changing and adjusting lenses is difficult while wearing gloves. My first trip out wasn’t until March. I did travel to New Mexico in July and took a lot of pictures, but the following month was hit with a crushing illness that kept me home bound for the rest of the summer and much of the fall. In spite of the illness, I still managed to produce some photographs with those from the New Mexico trip being among my favorites. I hope you enjoy these photographs, I absolutely loved taking them.
Blue Entryways. Edwin Roman, 2018. As seen at Taos Pueblo.
Red Sails in the Brooklyn Wind. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen from Governors Island.
Kitchen Mesa. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen from The Ghost Ranch.
Sunset Under the Triborough. Edwin Roman 2018.
Adobe Americana. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen in the Taos Pueblo.
Speakeasy Sal. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island.
San Geronimo Chapel. Edwin Roman 2018.
Wards Island Foot Bridge in Black and White. Edwin Roman 2018.
In the Distance on Route 550. Edwin Roman 2018
Climb into The Cave Dwelling. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen at Bandelier National Monument.
The Sunbather. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen on Ward’s Island.
Bands. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen at the Jazz Age Lawn Party.
The Orange Parasol. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen at the Jazz Age Lawn Party.
Underneath with the Tides. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen under the boardwalk at Coney Island.
Grazers. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen in Taos Pueblo.
Juan Views the Atlantic. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen at Coney Island.
Adios. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen while leaving The Ghost Ranch.
A Rockefeller View. Edwin Roman 2018. As seen from the Rockefeller Overlook in New Jersey.
Two weeks ago, I hit the streets of New York City looking to foster some inspiration. With my camera, I traveled to Governors Island, thinking I was going to get some interesting landscape shots. Instead, I stumbled upon a most festive event: The Jazz Age Lawn Party! And it was exactly that— a gathering of many people celebrating the 1920s! What fun! It was almost as much fun as Comic Con. Here are some of the pictures I took. I did my best to not include any pictures with 21st century details taken with a 21st century camera. Enjoy!
Earlier this month, I made a long-overdue pilgrimage back to Coney Island. It was the first time I had visited during the off-season in about twenty years. It was also my first time ever visiting during the off-season with my camera. The ambiance during the off season is, of course, quite different. The amusement parks are empty and there not many people around. My eye was drawn to the beach and the ocean—I forgot how much I love that crisp, winter sea air! I hope this collection of photographs conveys that wonderfully peaceful feeling.
Brooklyn Eiffel Tower
Underneath with the Tides
A Tidal Walk
Friend of the Gulls
One of the great things about living in New York City is that you get to meet people from all of the world—even on a cold, crisp day in Coney Island. I met Juan, who was a visitor from Argentina who agreed to pose for me.
The featured image of this blog entry was taken on the eve of Trump’s inauguration during the New York City protest around Columbus Circle. I had gone there to participate and document. I didn’t stay as long as I had intended because in the midst of it, I got a call from my sister telling me that my uncle had passed away. Until I started working on this entry, I had never looked at the photographs from that day.
The individual in the featured photograph had the absolute gall to show up wearing a (made in China) maga hat (someone had asked him to remove it so they could inspect the label). I can’t begin to convey the vitriol he encountered, which was absolutely deserved. I watched him for a while and my favorite exchange was with a woman who conveyed that based solely on his appearance, he would be thrown over Trump’s border wall. She noted that most of his supporters would only ever see him as a terrorist or criminal. She completely shut him down and I managed to capture that moment. Ultimately, I thought he did this as a stunt; a way to garner attention and trend online to get his fifteen minutes. He was recording all of this exchanges on his phone.
It has been a long year and I have done my best to do things that counter the limited mindset of Trump and his supporters. I continue to volunteer, engage in activism and create art. With regards to photography, I largely engage in it during the warm months. I consider myself to be a street photographer and hate working with my camera while wearing gloves. This year, I found myself inspired to try and capture the beautiful diversity of New York City.
It is with great pride that I present to you my favorite pictures of 2017.
A Human Right. Edwin Roman 2017. As seen at Bronx Community College during the 60th anniversary celebration.
Devious Smiles. Edwin Roman, 2017. People watching at the Coney Island Art Walls.
Wepa! Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen at the “Salsa Under The Sun” concert.
Fuga Aqua. Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.
Dreaming in Red. Edwin Roman 2017. Actors from the off-Broadway, cabaret show, I Dream of Jackie, featuring the wonderful Jackie Cox. As seen at Flame Con 2017.
Rockland Cliff. Edwin Roman, 2017. This was my first ever visit to Rockland Lake State Park during the fall or any time other than summer.
Sharing a Laugh. Edwin Roman, 2017. This was the first time I was ever hired to photograph a wedding. This couple was just great and so laid back; they were in sync with my style of photography.
Boarding Squared. Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen on the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Brooklyn, The Statue. Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen outside of the Brooklyn Museum.
Goose Goose. Edwin Roman, 2017. A rare winter picture in Flushing Meadow Park.
Kente Color Splash. Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen in The Bronx.
Two Cameras. Edwin Roman, 2017. A fellow photographer at work in Central Park.
Sépia Fille. Edwin Roman, 2017. This lovely young woman posed for me at Coney Island Beach.
Picturing Robin Lord Taylor. Edwin Roman, 2017. This was during the actor’s panel at Flame Con. I actually got to ask the first question, which was: “If Gotham City were a real place would you want to live there?”
Boardwalk Fútbol. Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen on the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Sara the Turtle. Edwin Roman, 2017. One summer weekday at Rockland Lake State Park I actually witnessed this beautiful little turtle burying her eggs.
Touring The Hall of Fame. Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen at Bronx Community College.
Speed Walking The Boardwalk. Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen on the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Sinewy Skirt and Sloppy Star. Edwin Roman, 2017. Whenever I am in a tediously long workplace meeting, I will go into survival mode and let my imagination take over. I often create made up superheroes and villains. This duo is a pair of superheroes.
Exuberance. Edwin Roman, 2017. As seen at “Salsa Under the Sun.”
As seen from the Wonder Wheel. Edwin Roman, 2017. Picturing the world famous Cyclone from the equally famous Wonder Wheel.
The Batwoman on my Shelf. Edwin Roman, 2017. An action figure of one of my favorite comic book characters, Batwoman.
People watching in New York City is always interesting and often fun. It is especially great when I have my camera with me. I loved watching this charismatic family having fun with their own camera in Flushing Meadow Park.