Walk With Me: New Yorkis 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.
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!
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.
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 FromA to Biba: The 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!
Sign up for our Newsletter to receive occasional updates from The New Yorker Life.
NYL is an Amazon Affiliate Website. Shop at Amazon safely and support our page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Yorker life is waking up to a snow-covered winter wonderland sometimes, and I love it more than anything!
I’ve found these photos after almost 10 years and decided to post them here. They are from January 2012. It was the day Leonard Cohen released “Old Ideas.” I went out for a walk in my neighborhood, Upper East Side, at 8:30 am. After walking around in the UES, I ended up in Central Park. I met many people that day; dog walkers, parents taking their kids to the park for sledding, other people taking photographs.
NYC offers so many photo opportunities in such a short time. All of these photos are taken in about 2 hours, max. Not too many other cities are full of fantastic architecture, friendly and interesting people and of course, streets full of life. Maybe, Istanbul. I always thought that I could sit in a corner all day, watch the world go by, and end up satisfied and accomplished at the end of the day in NYC. This city is very, very special!
The child in me will never stop getting excited, running out the door when it snows, I know that for sure.
“The sight of snow made her think how beautiful and short life is and how, in spite of all their enmities, people have so very much in common; measured against eternity and the greatness of creation, the world in which they lived was narrow. That’s why snow drew people together. It was as if snow cast a veil over hatreds, greed, and wrath and made everyone feel close to one another.” ― Orhan Pamuk, Snow
The New Yorker Life proudly presents; Kid reporter Bartu Milci interviews Yigitcan Sumbelli, a scientist working in the cutting-edge field of 3d Bioprinting.
3d printing is a fascinating process; simply put, it’s adding material on top of each other in an organized manner and creating a final product. From designing and 3d printing simple pieces like a button or a phone case at home to 3d printing houses or even rocket fuselages without the need for screws or welding, this technology has become a big part of our lives.
A recently emerging and sci-fi-like application of 3d printing is called 3d bioprinting. You heard that right! Scientists are working on creating live tissue or organs with the help of 3d printers. Yigitcan Sumbelli is working with one of the world’s leading groups in this cutting-edge field, and he answered our kid reporter Bartu Milci’s questions.
Before the interview, we’d like to mention a few products that can get every child interested in 3d printing. They are so affordable for what they do and easily available on Amazon, you should give them a try.
Street Unicorns by Robbie Quinn is now available on Abrams & Amazon.
Street Unicorns: Bold Expressionists of Style is a new photo book by Robbie Quinn, a New York City-based commercial photographer and a favorite amongst the followers of The New Yorker Life. His work allowed him to travel to more than a dozen countries and is associated with current social issues like race, immigration, gender identity, and sexual orientation, encouraging diversity and inclusion.
In Street Unicorns, Quinn shares viewpoints, aspirations, and masterfully done portraits of more than 250 style rebels, revealing his genuine curiosity in people who choose to express themselves through their style; “The conscious choices we make by uniquely presenting ourselves say we matter. It says this is me, and perhaps because we are not all quite the same, we can learn and grow from each other.”
Enjoy our brief Q&A with Robbie Quinn below. Follow him on Instagram. Order Street Unicorns on Abramsor Amazon.
Q&A with Robbie Quinn on Street Unicorns: Bold Expressionists of Style
NYL: How did Street Unicorns start?
I started Street Unicorns unconsciously. It just happened. In my book, I do my best to retrace my life’s experiences to understand what drew me to the work. I think in a large part, it’s my response to the many injustices that humans needlessly inflict on each other. It’s my hope that the book will inspire people to take more risks in expressing their most authentic selves and have others gain more acceptance and appreciation for those that are different from themselves.
NYL: How did you meet the Unicorns?
I’ve met some of the Street Unicorns on social media, some have found me, but mostly they are chance encounters. Whenever I see one on the street, I compliment their style and it often leads to an impromptu photo session. Things are very rarely planned. I’m photographing individuals wearing what they put on that day in the place where we met with natural light. That’s what makes it authentic and special.
NYL: Photographs are stunning! Aspiring photographers will want to know about your equipment.
When I’m not photographing commercially, I always have a camera with me, usually a Sony a7R IV with either a 35mm f/1.4 or an 85mm f/1.4 lens. I started using the 85 more when we wanted to keep more distance from each other for Covid reasons, but now I really like the look of the 85.
However lately, I’ve been using more film too. I learned photography using a Minolta x-700, but I recently started using a Mamiya rz67 pro ii with a 110 2.8 lens. It’s a medium format camera and made for the studio. It usually requires a tripod; it’s a bit heavy, but I like using it handheld on the street. Definitely a bit more conspicuous, but that has some advantages.
NYL: What did you learn in the making of Street Unicorns?
Meeting all these different Street Unicorns from here in New York and the rest of the world has expanded my understanding of self-expression. It has brought into greater focus the idea that we all deserve the freedom to be our unique selves. Rather than building walls, connecting with someone quite different from yourself is an opportunity for growth and learning more, not only about them but also yourself.
NYL: Do you have future plans?
For the future, my only plans are to have no plans. I like to stay open to what life brings. I do know I’d like to travel more and not simply to tourist stops. I want to meet more people and keep exploring. There’s something to be said for staying in one place and putting down roots, but for me, I enjoy the stimulation of constant change.