Yesterday morning I took portraits of bike commuters at the Williamsburg Bridge at rush hour. It was a bit of an experiment: I wanted to set up at one busy bike spot during bike commuter rush hour and try to take as many bike portraits as I could. I decided on the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge (Brooklyn side) from 7-9am. I picked that spot for a few reasons: I knew it would be busy; there is a good amount of sidewalk space to shoot a portraits without blocking everyone’s way; I knew the trees would block the morning sun long enough to keep the light good; oh, and it’s close to my house.
I announced my plan on Twitter and also used my bully pulpit as a curator at BikeNYC.org to advertise my little pop-up photo shoot. I had no idea how many people would actually come for the shoot, so I also tried to flag down riders to get them to stop for a quick shot. As you can imagine, this isn’t easy to do – these people are trying to get to work, after all. But a few did stop; one guy actually rode halfway up the bridge before changing his mind and coming back down.
For each person who stopped for a portrait I did my best to get 3 quick pieces of info: name, occupation, and destination. Hopefully these snippets of info will add nice context to the portraits. I ended up with a total of about 35 portraits – not a bad yield, all things considered. Students, teachers, parents taking their kids to work, attorneys, and lots of others. So here you go. A small, by no means comprehensive cross-section of some Willy B commuters. I plan to do this again in the near future in another part of the city.
A few highlights are below; the full gallery is on Facebook.
Omar. “I’m a construction worker. I’m headed to Stuytown.”
Lara. “I’m a teacher. Going to school on Stanton – just over the bridge.”
Jac. “I’m a shop manager at an architecture firm in Chelsea.”
Ward and his son, Luke. “I’m taking him to school. You’ll see me come back alone in about 20 minutes.”
Terry. “I’m going to the Rubin Museum of Art. I work there.”
Steve. “I’m a transportation planner for the Transit Authority. I’m coming from Astoria – going to 2 Broadway. I can ride on any transit for free, but I love to ride my bike to work.”
“Make it literally 2 seconds. We’re late for school!”
“I’m a dentist at NYU. You need a cleaning, you call me.”
Ragnar, headed to Maiden Ln. “ I’m a social science researcher on sexual health and reproductive rights.”
“We’re late for school!”
Kristin. “I’m a designer. I’m heading to SVA right now.”
Woody. “I teach guitar – I’m headed to a lesson.”
Alek. “I’m just waiting for a friend.”
Don’t forget to see the full gallery on Facebook!