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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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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Street Unicorns by Robbie Quinn

Street Unicorns by Robbie Quinn

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 Abrams or Amazon.

Robbie Quinn Portrait.
Robbie Quinn

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.

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New York City Street Photography: Dogs

dogs of New York City

I searched “dogs new york” on Amazon for Christmas gifts for a friend with two dogs, and I was blown away by the variety and the coolness of options! From sports jerseys to books, treats to squeakers, choices were endless. I bought two adorable plush toys; one is a New York MetroCard, and the other is an NYC yellow cab. They are so cute that I want my kids to have the same designs in their beds, only in bigger sizes.

New York City has 8.5 million people and more than 600,000 dogs. Dogs are as big a part of the social fabric in the Big Apple as their human counterparts. They ride the subway, jog along with their owners in Central Park, walk down the 5th Avenue all dolled up, and sometimes sleep rough on a bench with their humans. Even if you are not a dog person, you get to learn about Shiba Inus, Alaskan Klee Kais, and Chinooks; they are just all around you! There is even a book called Canines of New York! (it’s like Humans of New York, highly recommended if dogs and NY are in your favorite words)

The brilliant photos showing dogs and their New Yorkers in this post are by Ohad Kab, a New York City-based photojournalist and a dear friend of The New Yorker Life. He is a dog owner too. Unfortunately, he recently suffered a dog bite in the lip while petting one of the little monsters in an NYC park. He’s much better after a few weeks and some stitches, luckily.

Please enjoy the beautiful photos by Ohad Kab and follow him on Instagram. He is walking the streets of New York and working on different projects, which we will share on NYL soon. Sign up for our newsletter for occasional updates from us.

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Favorite Coffee Table Books Of New Yorkers in 2021

Favorite Coffee Table Books Of New Yorkers in 2021

Coffee table books have been a big hit in 2021 on our 165K strong Facebook page. New Yorkers love buying and gifting coffee table books, and we are no different at NYL. We shared what we purchased and loved, and our followers valued our suggestions which led to many book sales. The interest encouraged us to focus on more book recommendations in 2022, both on our social media and The New Yorker Life.

Suggesting a product to a vast group of people is no easy task, though! We are responsible people, and we do not wish to contribute to climate change and pollution by marketing products of commercial greed. We also want you to feel that if NYL suggests it, it’s good! Discovering great items, making sure they are worth buying is our top priority. And in this post, you’ll find a recap of what our followers loved the most in 2021. If you’d like to be in the loop, please subscribe to our newsletter to receive occasional updates from us and follow our social media.

Best Coffee Table Books to Buy & Gift This Year

Barbershops of America by Rob Hammer

Barbershops of America is a photo book by Rob Hammer, a Los Angeles, California-based photographer and a contributor to The New Yorker Life. In his book, Hammer offers a unique look into the world of traditional barbershops throughout all 50 states of America, and he does it masterfully.


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New York City Street Photography by Ernst Haas

New York City Street Photography by Ernst Haas

Edit: Our readers loved Ernst Haas: New York in Color. This post has been incredibly popular with over 65k visits in a month. Thanks!


Ernst Haas was an Austrian-American photojournalist who invested in color photography at a time it was considered inferior to B&W and left incredible photographs behind, documenting The New Yorker Life.

During his 40-year career, Haas closed the gap between photojournalism and photography as a creative medium. His innovative use of shutter speed added a blurred effect to his images, producing a unique sense of movement. He was the ultimate “Instagrammer” 50 years before Instagram came to life.

This post’s incredible selection of photos is from Ernst Haas: New York in Color, 1952-1962, a book published in 2020 by Prestel Publishing. The book includes his classic and newly discovered New York City color photographs of the 1950s and 60s.

At the peak of his creation, Ernst Haas presented us with these beautiful images demonstrating his remarkable mastery of Kodachrome film and color printing. The depth and richness of color in these photographs are unmatched and they brim with lyricism and theatrical apprehension.

You can order Ernst Haas: New York in Color, 1952-1962 on Amazon, and visit ernst-haas.com to find out more about the artist.

2021 edition is out: Favorite Coffee Table Books Of New Yorkers in 2021

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Singapore Street Photography by Betty Goh

Singapore Street Photography by Betty Goh

Betty Goh is a street photographer born and raised in Singapore and a first-time contributor to The New Yorker Life. Even though she does not have education or experience in arts, she developed her unique style of photography and became the first Singaporean artist in the Women Street Photographers book curated by Gulnara Samoilova and internationally published by Prestel Publishing in March 2021. The book features 100 contemporary female street photographers around the world.

My passion is abstract street photography – focusing on the urban streets, colors, shadows, silhouettes, reflections, and lines. Sometimes I feel that there is a natural force within me to do these.

I started street photography after attending a workshop with Siegfried Hansen. I didn’t know who he was or what kind of photos he took, and in fact, I didn’t understand what street photography was. I just signed up for the workshop as I was thinking of going to Tokyo for a short holiday and thought attending a workshop would be an excellent activity. Who knows, it changed my life. At the workshop, I was inspired by him as I discovered that the streets could be so attractive by looking at them from different perspectives. When I returned home, I practiced a lot and developed my unique style of photography. Besides being influenced by Siegfried Hansen, I focused on my feelings and views while photographing on the streets.

Due to the COVID pandemic, I have been photographing only in Singapore over the last 2 years. Therefore, the majority of the photos you see here are from Singapore. Abstract street photography is not at all common or popular in Singapore, but I feel that it is still important to follow my soul and capture the streets in the way I think.

In September 2021, I became a Leica Guild member. Currently, I have an exhibition, “Graphics in Streets,” held in Leica Singapore. I also take place in a Leica Conversation Zoom session called “Graphics in Streets.”

I definitely would love to come to New York to photograph. In fact, before COVID, I had frequently been traveling to the US for my work, and so, I flew to New York over one short weekend to take some street photos for a couple of hours. I would love to return to do more.

For more: Follow Betty Goh on Instagram and visit bettygohphotography.com.

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New York City Street Photography by Ozgur Aydogdu

New York City Street Photography by Ozgur Aydogdu

Street Unicorns by Robbie Quinn is now available on Amazon. Read our interview with Robbie Quinn and see amazing photos from the book.


Ozgur Aydogdu is a visual artist from Turkey who works as a “character technical director” at Pixar. His timeless black and white photography results from his genuine curiosity towards The New Yorker Life. You can follow him on Instagram and visit his photoblog.

The most exciting thing about moving to New York was the opportunity to search for this fascinating city’s soul. New York took me to places I had never imagined and always surprised me with its dirt, rust, and incredible energy. I tried to become a part of it while observing it as an outsider.

Wandering the streets of New York aimlessly, following strange moments and expressions, was my way to understand this city. Following little details like a hat blown away by the wind or an obscure silhouette made me feel alive and present. These things felt like they were happening in full-blown chaos yet in perfect order. They forced me to look inside myself through others.

Like Bruce Davidson once said: “New York is a state of mind. It’s about vitality and taking chances and the surprise. It’s vibrant, sexy, beautiful, ugly, and depressing”.

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Deep Park by Bruce Polin

Deep Park by Bruce Polin

Deep Park is an ongoing series of chance portraits by Bruce Polin, a native of Brooklyn, New York. Bruce meets and photographs people in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, which he calls his outdoor studio, with his large-format 8×10 film camera. The results are pure, honest, and timeless portraits of a diverse group of New Yorkers who are the protagonists in what we call The New Yorker Life.

Photography is perfectly suited to depict, and enable, the transformative nature of people.

While, on the surface, the work may not appear all that political, this series of portraits — of random and seemingly disparate people — has been a very organic and physical reaction to the polarization that has enveloped this country since before the presidential election. It’s no coincidence that my need to leave the insularity of my studio and go out to connect with “strangers” began in earnest during the campaign that let up to November 2016.

Prospect Park is the optimal microcosm of New York’s profound diversity. My use of its natural assets as the backdrop somehow imparts additional political resonance, given that our public lands and environmental protections seem to be eroding by the minute, and climate change denial is now, incredibly, a governing principle. The park, designed in 1867 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert B. Vaux, is a vast organism, fertile, with secret winding paths and infinite textures and sounds. There are many unique ‘neighborhoods’ within it. The park has become my studio in a way — one in which I don’t have much control, an aspect that can be frustrating but often liberating.

My use of these large outdated cameras for this project is very intentional. I wouldn’t be able to achieve the same thing with a small modern camera. With these big cameras, a lot of patience is required on both myself and the sitter. At some point, though, my subject becomes invested in the process, and it becomes more of a collaboration. They see that I’m building something, and I need their help. The process can effectively isolate us as if an invisible room takes form. And it all happens in a public space. I’m fascinated by how we construct very private spaces within public spaces. I look for people who might already be in that space, so I approach with care, trying hard not to break what they built.
I try to be aware of the transition.

Photography is perfectly suited to depict, and enable, the transformative nature of people. –Bruce Polin on “Deep Park”

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