As I was laying on bed with a terrible flu during my stay in Ireland over the Christmas holidays I got an email entitled "crazy idea".
I was feeling awful but this email made me almost jump out of bed. Someone I work for had organised a last minute event in New York City and was asking me if I could come to photograph it. It took me two milliseconds to make my mind up.
The prospect of going to the Big Apple for the first time in my life was very appealing. Moreover, my dear childhood friend Alfonso from Seville also lives there, so the appeal was even bigger. The coincidence was quite big since the event I had to photograph and my friend's place were 10min walking distance from each other. I could not have asked for a more exciting experience and it was being offered to me.
So after my return to Luxembourg I got ready for my trip to NY. After a long flight and a special first evening with my friend and his family I woke up early in the morning and headed for the streets. I wanted to check a well know photography shop in New York called B&H and walked from the hotel to get a feeling of the streets. Rather than using public transport I just walked everywhere and my average walking distance was 25km a day.
It is difficult to describe how overwhelming everything is in this city the first time you visit it. The sheer size of the buildings, the roar of the streets, the smells, the numerous characters you come across. It is quite an experience and it is very extreme in different ways. Not only the architecture offer huge contrasts but also life in the streets. It is the essence of capitalism.
Being more of a landscape than a street photographer I wanted to explore and photograph some of the amazing views New York has to offer. I was told I was very lucky with the weather conditions I found on my arrival. It seems only a day or two earlier New Yorkers had to endure many days of freezing temperatures around -18ºC. Me on the other hand "only" had -8ºC and a wind chill that felt like -15º...lucky me. I had forgotten how horrible it is to feel intense pain in my hands and ears due to very low temperatures, however, I could not miss the chance to get out there and photograph this amazing city.
Musically, my trip was also superb. Not only I saw my friend Alfonso play live one of his gigs but I also saw a few really amazing gigs around Manhattan. My friend Alfonso is a flamenco singer and flute player and is involved in many projects. Perhaps his pet project is The New York Bojaira Project, a very special mix of jazz and flamenco with some excellent musicians that I absolutely love.
From the other other gigs I saw, perhaps the one that stood out for me was the one at 11th Street Bar. The man playing the alto saxophone in this short video is Bob Mover. It seems he used to play with trumpeter Chet Baker, who had a very unhealthy relationship with drugs and so it seems was the case for Bob Mover. At least Bob is still alive, unlike Chet Baker, but the price he had to pay is a severe lung emphysema. He was playing hooked to an oxygen machine but nevertheless was able to pull out of that saxophone some beautiful solos. It is quite possible his profound love for music and his instrument keeps him alive.
These pictures are a selection of the many I took over the time I spend in NYC. I had a couple of days of heavy rain and two days of work. The rest of my time I spent walking the city, taking pictures, seeing my friend Alfonso, eating great food and listening to some great music. I could not have had a better trip to New York and I am already thinking about coming back with my family to enjoy together this outstanding place.