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Landmark vs Texture

Christian
Shawn Connell

The idea of using a city’s texture versus an obvious landmark as a photo shoot backdrop comes up frequently with my New York City couples. We want to clearly depict our location in a way that is unexpected yet obvious while maintaining creative integrity at the same time.

I don’t have to prop you up in front of the Rockefeller Center to show that our shoot is taking place in New York City. If anything, using landmarks is as contrived as can be. More than just a photographer’s cop out, using strictly obvious landmarks limits the creative capacity of our shots. What else can we do to convey where we are and the meaning of our location? Well, pretty much anything other than a side-by-side portrait in front of a key monument.

For creative purposes, I’d rather incorporate what I call the texture of an environment than a popular building of historical relevance. Texture is all around us and elicits an emotional response more so than your run-of-the-mill tourist trap.

It’s not The Empire State Building that makes New York City so majestic. No one lives here for the proximity to our nation’s former tallest building; in fact those who live here tend to avoid 34th street at all costs. Instead, people flock to the city in droves for the energy, the people, the culture and the lifestyle.

Yellow cabs in gridlock, flurries of suits on 5th Avenue, crowded sidewalks downtown and even street meat carts in Central Park tell more to the story than just “here we are, like millions of others before us, taking pictures standing in front of a popular tourist destination”. And this holds true for just about any location we shoot.

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