Walk With Me: New York by Susan Kaufman

Walk With Me: New York by Susan Kaufman

Walk With Me: New York is a wonderful new photobook by Susan Kaufman, a New York City-based former fashion editor. Creating a second visual career for herself by highlighting the beauty of the streets she walked down but ignored for years; she genuinely reveals the beauty of NYC in all seasons.

Most charming neighborhoods and photographable hotspots are just some of the subjects caught on camera by Susan Kaufman as part of her capture-the-moment project. By photographing buildings and streets from the sidewalk, she creates a route through the eyes of a native for those who miss New York or want to revisit the city.

Here’s our brief Q&A with Susan Kaufman;

NYL: How did Walk With Me: New York start?

Susan: I always dreamt that I’d do a book of my New York photos one day. After shooting for about four years, I finally felt that I had enough photos I liked to actually put together a book. I just needed to come up with a concept. Over time I kept hearing from many of my Instagram followers that they wished they could walk with me and see the city the way that I do. Because of their comments (and encouragement), the idea of Walk With Me: New York was born. So, I have my followers to thank!

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Mila Gislon on Not Leaving the Childhood Dreams Behind 

Fashion Illustration by Mila Gislon

Born and raised in one of the world’s fashion capitals, Milan, Italian fashion illustrator Mila Gislon welcomes us to her naive and promising imaginative world. Her work is mainly characterized by its bold sense of color and use of florals, and she enjoys recreating various traditional techniques. Inspired by fashion weeks while growing up in Milan, experimentation is an integral part of her working process. Surprisingly, besides her illustrator identity, she is a medical student at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Germany, indeed.

We chatted with young and talented Mila, who keeps her passion for creativity, drawing, and fashion always alive, to hear more about her influences, struggles, and the importance of making art on her career route.

NYL: Dear Mila, tell us about your journey – did you always want to be an illustrator?

Mila: Illustration has always been a part of my life; I can’t imagine a day without drawing. An essential step for me was in High School when Procreate, the digital drawing app, featured my work across their social media. I was touched by the incredibly positive response to my art – it encouraged me to take my passion seriously.

NYL: And what about your creative journey. What stepping stones led you to where you are now? Why fashion?

Mila: Instagram has been a big stepping stone. It’s allowed me to present my work to the public and, at the same time, connect with and draw inspiration from other creatives.

Fashion is an endless source of joy and inspiration to me. I was born and grew up in Milan – a true capital of style -. Where else does the local market have at least four stands selling designer shoes? Personally, I always love putting together a look – and often favor the same bright colors I use in my illustrations.

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NYL: What do you love most about what you do?

Mila: When I draw a look from the runway, I am constantly reinterpreting and reworking it. Fashion illustration is a dialogue between two art forms – that is what makes it so much fun. And Escapism, I must say! I love being able to escape to a more exciting and theatrical world. My favorite artists like George Barbier or Christian Lacroix are all about drama.

NYL: You use traditional techniques such as watercolor or digital collages in your illustrations. How did your art and technique evolve?

Mila: I am entirely self–taught. I started with patterned paper, scissors, and co. I now work almost exclusively digitally using the digital illustration app, Procreate. When I first started drawing digitally, I spent a lot of time on detailed realistic portraits, which helped train my eye and improve my technique – a bit like old–school drawing from life. The skills I gained were a necessary basis on which to develop a freer and more spontaneous style. The gesinski ink brush, the gouache brush, and the calligraphy brushes in Procreate are my favorites. At the moment, I’m increasingly incorporating a wider range of traditional techniques like woodcuts – digital art allows you endless options.

NYL: What and who is your source of inspiration?

Mila: Matisse for color and pattern, Mats Gustafson for his beautiful simplicity, and Paolo Roversi for sheer poetry. And exhibitions – I’ve visited Paris regularly since childhood. I’ve had the opportunity to draw inspiration from so many beautiful museums and exhibitions like the Musée Yves Saint Laurent and the Dior exhibition at the Musée des Arts décoratifs. Books – I recently read From A to BibaThe Autobiography of Barbara Hulanicki, flowers, and of course, street style – Milanesi aren’t afraid to dress up!

NYL: You are a medical student. This is definitely a “thing” – hard and quite respectful. Did you have any difficulties, or did you ever suspect your parents wanted you to continue your profession? What was the people’s reaction around you to such a plot twist?

Mila: Medical school can make it difficult to carve out time for anything else, but one can do wonders with a bit of organization and a lot of caffeine. I believe pursuing both dreams will be very rewarding in the long term, so I put in the extra effort daily to balance my two interests. Luckily I have always been supported by my family, and of course, having their support is essential and priceless.

NYL: What do you find the most challenging about freelancing? How do you tackle it?

Mila: You have to be a jack of all trades: artist, PR manager, and personal assistant. I try to keep my eyes open for opportunities to forge contacts and always be positive and proactive. I also think it’s increasingly important to put oneself out there on a personal level – a skill I’m working on.

NYL: This year’s Met Gala theme is “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” The dress code is Gilded Glamour. Considering the concept, if you could dress a celebrity at the Met Gala, who would it be, and how would you design the costume in your own style? Why?

Mila: An actress I’d kill to dress is Gemma Chan. I loved her homage to Anna May Wong for the 2021 Met Gala. However, she is a red carpet veteran and never misses a beat – so I’d probably end up leaving all the critical decisions to her!

Furthermore, I love literature – so I would turn to novels like those by Henry James from the Gilded Age to inspire me. I’m thinking Dior by John Galliano – style big sleeves and even bigger hair!

NYL: And finally, what’s next for you?

Mila: Hopefully, a lot of experimentation and new experiences! I’d love to do more commercial work. One thing is for sure – I’m excited for the road ahead!

Fashion Illustration by Mila Gislon
fashion illustration by Mila gislon

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Deniz Ercelebi On Being a Fearless Dream Chaser

Deniz Ercelebi is a Turkish industrial designer and fashion illustrator based in Richmond, Virginia. Having worked as a designer in the technology industry for over 20 years, she has decided not to postpone her dreams any longer. We caught up with Deniz to find out more about her journey and FIDA (Fashion Illustration Awards) success, how things are going since her career -accordingly- her life changed, and hear more about the fashion illustration field.

NYL: Dear Deniz, you have an inspiring story. Can you talk us through your career journey to date?

Deniz: I studied Industrial Design at Middle East Technical University. After my internship, I started working part-time as a graphic and web designer at a design agency, which turned into a full-time job after graduation. I moved to New York in 2004. I am a problem solver and a lifelong learner. After doing graphic and web design for a while, I leveraged my industrial design knowledge and web design experience to start designing digital products. My most recent experience has been in the tech start-up world as a product designer. I love User Experience Design as it provides me with ongoing problem-solving opportunities and allows me to exercise my creativity.

NYL: When did you realize you wanted to become an illustrator?

Deniz: I’ve always loved drawing. My mother tells me how I started drawing fashion figures as early as I could hold a pencil. However, I come from a family of engineers. After high school, I ended up studying Geological Engineering. Yet, I realized it wasn’t for me at the end of my first year. I transferred to the Industrial Design Department as it was a more creative field but still technical for me to feel comfortable. I did not feel brave enough to jump straight into art and illustration at the time. Then life got busy and drawing just stayed on the side as a neglected hobby for me.

I’ve always felt that art and illustration were what I wanted to do. I also struggled with a significant artist’s block all my life. I knew I wanted to do art and illustration, but I didn’t know where to start. After I had my second baby at age 44, a switch was turned on for me recently. I decided; this is it. Life is passing. If I want to do something, there is no better time than today. So I decided to get over my art block systematically. My husband gifted me a craft table that he built. I created a small studio space in our basement and started drawing. I decided to draw a little every day. It doesn’t really matter what it is or how it turns out. The point was to do it and dust off my skills.

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Abstract Visions & Vibrant Colors: Paintings by Ilayda Tulum

Aiming to catch and reflect feelings spontaneously using abstract shapes flooded with vibrant and mostly blueish pigments, contemporary artist Ilayda Tulum creates abstract paintings comprised of consecutive and irregular lines. As the feeling demands, she smears kindly or wildly, pours lots of water, squeegees the paint, and builds textures on layers using acrylics, charcoals, ink, and pastels.

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Street Photography in NYC by Suzanne Stein

Street Photography in NYC by Suzanne Stein

Suzanne Stein walks the streets of New York City, investigating New Yorker Life through intimate street photography and powerful writing. Follow Suzanne on Instagram and visit her wildly popular first blog with us: Hasidic Jews of Williamsburg.

When I Was a Street Photographer – Suzanne Stein

I know someday I’m going to be desperately sentimental about the long hours I spend every day walking the streets of New York City. I often wonder if I will live long enough to become an elderly woman, occasionally looking over my images, and miss these often tedious days with an intensity I cannot yet imagine. Occasionally I feel a sense of dread when I consider the perfect certainty, the virtual guarantee that someone I’ve met on the street and photographed extensively passes away. I don’t know if I will be able to glide through a loss so substantial. I consider the odds of avoiding assault or other violence directed at me as a lone female constantly outdoors with expensive camera equipment and try to calculate how many lives I have left as an active and productive street photographer, having been very lucky most days. I have not always been fortunate, though, and my physically damaged right eye and two concussions from assaults on the streets have removed some of my naïve perceptions that nothing bad could ever happen to me… My perception of that sense of personal specialness we all have has evolved, and I understand that the inviolate belief that we all possess for a time in our lives that says no true harm will ever befall us is a falsehood.

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Ghazal Bagheri’s Silent and Vulnerable Faces

Ghazal Bagheri is an Istanbul-based Iranian figurative painter with a background in sociology, and a first time contributor to The New Yorker Life. Ghazal thinks her paintings reflect on stories, even wounds of the people she encounters. Enjoy a selection of her beautiful work in this blog and follow Ghazal on Instagram to witness her journey in painting.

NYL: Ghazal, please introduce yourself a little.

Ghazal: I was born in 1993 in the city of Qaemshahr in northern Iran. After getting a degree in Persian literature and graphic design, I immigrated to Istanbul with my family when I was 18. I studied sociology at Istanbul University. I had my first work experience in the textile industry. In addition to working in various jobs, I worked as an actor and puppeteer at the Çizgi Puppet Theater for six years. In the meanwhile, I continued painting. I realized that people’s stories, perhaps their wounds, influenced my paintings. That’s why I decided to study in the department of sociology, which focuses on people and human life.

NYL: How has your technique evolved? Do you mainly use watercolors?

Ghazal: Before I emigrated, I practiced pencil drawing and charcoal technique with the dream of becoming a realist painter, but when I came to Istanbul, my paintings changed and grew as I did. I got acquainted with the world of watercolor, and gradually fish entered my life. In recent years, besides watercolor, I have also applied acrylic, oil pastel, and colored pencil techniques to express myself and my feelings.

NYL: Can you talk about the symbolism in your paintings? What do the fish and other symbols you draw represent?

Ghazal: I never talk about paintings; I don’t even name them because I don’t want them to affect viewers. Paintings are actually mirrors, and the viewer sees their reflection in them. Fish and other symbols are not really a thing or a path of your choosing, like the technique you use. They are just there, as I felt. I use fish, flowers, and crows often, but this can change over time or not, I don’t know.

I don’t know why fish either. My psychologist friend says that fish symbolizes trust. I may have chosen this because I have problems with trust in my life, too. Again, I always leave the interpretation to the other viewer. Because the picture I draw when I am unhappy can give another person a sense of joy.

NYL: It sounds like painting is an essential part of your life.

Ghazal: Painting is not only a profession for me; it is my identity, even my whole life. It is why I make almost all of my choices, from university education to people I connect with. I paint as if I keep a diary. In recent years, I incorporated digital drawing on a tablet, which is faster and easier to carry around with me. Painting has become a necessity for me, like eating.

It may seem appealing and perhaps easy to live as a painter, but a very, very difficult life will be waiting for you. You can only ignore all the difficulties of painting if you truly love it. It’s like therapy where you constantly face yourself and your emotions and fight your ego. On the other hand, you can’t make real money, and people don’t take you seriously. Despite all this, painting helped me experience the excitement of discovering myself and the world.

NYL: Are the faces in your paintings real people? Do you draw with someone in mind?

Ghazal: I don’t draw someone directly in front of me in portraits. I would say that the portraits represent an emotion or a person’s story. Stories and feelings become my paintings.

NYL: How does having a multidisciplinary background affect your paintings?

Ghazal: As a child, I wanted to be a writer. As I grew up, I wanted to be a photographer. But in Iran, it was necessary to draw to pass the fine arts exam for the university. So I went to a drawing course and things have entirely changed there. Painting is like crying or eating. It relaxes me; it’s the only place I know and feel safe and confident. That’s why I can’t imagine my life without painting. Painting is like telling a secret to your best friend for me, or a diary.

I did photography to make money. I am currently interested in analog photography as a hobby; photography has become a field that fully supports my painting.

NYL: Can you name a few of your favorite artists?

Ghazal: I like Egon Schiele a lot. Apart from that, Séraphine Louis, Van gogh, Jenny Saville, Henri Matisse, Francisco Goya are names that I love.

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The New Yorker Life Shop is Coming Soon

The New Yorker Life is launching its online shop with exclusive art pieces created by top artists.

We are thrilled to announce that our tiny little community of 300.000 people will soon be able to buy what they love in prints, textiles, ceramics, and other forms. Soon, we are launching The New Yorker Life Shop.

To make things more exciting, we will collaborate with world-class illustrators/graphic designers on monthly limited edition prints. These will be exclusive to The New Yorker Life, limited to 50 copies in A3 size and printed in museum quality on fine art paper. The prints will only be available in the NYL Shop and never elsewhere – guaranteed. And once the 50 copies are gone, they’re gone forever.

Over the years, we hope to have an incredible collection of artwork representing each month of NYL as an online publication, starting on May 1st, 2022. Artists will keep a considerable part of the income from these prints as part of our goal to support the artists and the art community. So exciting!

We’re collaborating with Ayse Deniz Sahin, a renowned illustrator from Istanbul, Turkey, to kick things off. She is incredibly talented, and her work represents what we all need at the moment: peace, love, silliness, warm and leisurely summer days… In short, the nice things in life we all miss and deserve. She is hard at work, and we cannot wait!

If you are an artist or know someone you think would be great for this project, please send us an email, and we’ll discuss the details: hey@newyorkerlife.com. Please keep in mind this is a once-a-month gig, and we’ll be extremely picky with our choices. It is essential to deliver great work that represents The New Yorker Life and its values.

Sign up for our newsletter to get occasional updates from us. Our emails are rare, fun, and full of good stuff! You can also follow us on Instagram and our 170K+ Facebook page.

Thanks,
Guney Cuceloglu
Founder/Editor

New York City Architectural Photography

New York City Architecture and Architectural Photography in New York City by Duygu Tüntaş

Photography is a highly used communication method in architecture that gives us remote access to the natural and constructed environments and the ideas that enable creating them. Photography’s coincidence with architecture needs no discussion as architecture is ‘ideally stable’1 and is becoming a frequent photography subject. However, there is still a gap that waits to be filled with exploratory ways in relating these two.

Architectural photography as a critical practice can mediate creating new ideas on space, time, and architecture. It becomes a means to study forms, materials, and life through the transcription of light. While making these qualities visible, photography can lead us to think differently about our environments by creating a rapture in how we recollect those spaces.

I had a visual-conceptual plan in creating this project. I selected famous architectural locations in Manhattan and brought those diverse atmospheres together with certain visual commonalities. I aspired to push the fixed qualities in architectural photography. Instead of clarity, soft light, and tranquility, I looked for ambiguities, high-contrast, and dynamism.

In the photographs, the sharpness of building geometries is softened and emphasized through the city’s dynamism. The black-and-white enhances the built form and highlights how people’s use and movement transform those spaces. Silhouettes, shadows, motion, and reflections create a common ground within all that differs, and, through them, multilayered instances emerge for further readings and recollections.

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New York City Street Photography: Satmar Hasidic Williamsburg

Street photography is the perfect medium to record the rapidly changing nature of our lives. It’s illuminating, educative and it triggers curiosity in the viewer about its subject. Suzanne Stein‘s photos of Williamsburg’s Satmar Hasidic Jewish community are the perfect example. Combined with her powerful writing, these photos open a window into the lives of our fellow New Yorkers from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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New York City Street Photography: New Yorkers

Throughout the decades, many photographers produced excellent works documenting New Yorkers and the New Yorker life. Ernst Haas, Melissa O’Shaughnessy , Vivian Maier and Robert Herman are the first ones that come to mind. In recent years an Instagram account grew in popularity so much that it eventually turned into a book titled Humans of New York, and sold millions of copies. (All highly recommended)

The attraction makes sense, though. New York is one of the most diverse places on earth, a photographer’s dream, and New Yorkers are equally as colorful. Anthropologically speaking, an exciting case study in diversity at the very least.

Race, religion, and cultural differences make the city multi-layered and richer. Millions of New Yorkers embrace diversity for the most part and manage to co-exist on a tiny piece of land. This unique situation allows us to meet people from many other countries and learn about the world without traveling away from NYC.

Who is a New Yorker anyway?

We are happy to announce that we are hopping on the “documenting the New Yorker” train as well. Through photography, we’ll further investigate the question “Who is a New Yorker?” This series will get richer by the day, and we’ll see where it goes in the future. Take this post as a starter, part 1, if you will.

The beautiful photographs in this post come from Ohad Kab, our contributing photographer. He connects New Yorkers to the city and gives clues about who they are in a single frame. Ohad being an immigrant adds another layer to his great work. His previous post on NYL, “Dogs of New York” was wildly popular! You can follow Ohad Kab on Instagram.

If you would like to hear other stories from the city’s residents, we highly suggest picking up Humans of NY’s latest book, Humans of New York: Stories. If that’s not quite your vibe, there’s a great film with an all-star cast that exhibits similar, although fictionalized, stories from New York City residents called New York, I Love You, which you can also stream on Prime.

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