Ownership at 650 Fifth Avenue has launched a partnership with New York University in the form of “New York Through My Eyes,” a running digital photography exhibit in the building’s lobby that will feature photos by six photography students.
T. Lawrence Wheatman, a professor of photography at NYU’s School of Continuing Professional Studies, handpicked the group of students with diverse backgrounds, ranging from a photographer from Tel Aviv to a pathologist and cancer researcher.
“This event not only offers an opportunity to showcase the amazing work of some very talented budding photographers in a public forum, but it’s also a chance to see distinctive images that reveal the true beauty of our little island of Manhattan, from the unusual to the intriguing to the ordinary,” he said at a cocktail event celebrating the exhibit’s launch on Wednesday.
The free exhibit at the 36-story, 382,500-square-foot building showcases photos of various Manhattan sites, landmarks and neighborhoods. Dr. Houshang Ahmadi, president of the not-for-profit Alavi Foundation, majority owner and managing partner of 650 Fifth Avenue Company, called it a “unique and rewarding way to support the arts and culture of Manhattan.”
“Tenants and building visitors will get a glimpse at the incredible work of these budding photographic artists, capturing the action and emotion of the city we all call home,” he said.
The six photographers and their contributions to the exhibit were described as follows, and in their own words, in a media kit announcing the exhibit:
Jeta Bejtullahu: Born and raised in Kosovo, Jeta documented political events as a journalist before transitioning to photography. Her career took her from Bulgaria to the UK before finally moving to NYC to pursue her passion behind the camera. Jeta’s works are inspired by people’s unique stories, which she now shares through imagery.
“I am inspired by people’s stories of change and how modernity liquefies aspects of identity that we mistake for solids. In the LIQUID FEET series I capture moments in nature where people go to relax or escape. I then add a child’s perspective in postproduction using a pair of red wonder-shoes. Our feet are the main carriers of our physical selves. Through these series I ask: Is our identity a response to the choices we all make because of the shoes we walk in? Is it solid? Is it liquid?”
Kristi Marvin: Kristi is a freelance photographer who works in finance by day. Based in New York City, she credits her art to inspiration, timing and luck. Kristi’s works have been displayed at the Soho Photo Gallery in Manhattan.
“I love New York City. However, sometimes a picture of a building or street scene can feel flat or lack feeling, so I tried to shoot in a way that captured a certain emotion when you look at the photo.”
Patrícia Pollice: Patrícia celebrates photography’s ability to preserve time. A photographer by hobby, she uses her camera to capture emotions and relive them later. A few years ago, the shapes and activity in downtown Soho inspired her.
“Soho was a big revelation for me. Although I had already visited a few times, it was just for shopping, as all tourists do. However, I had never paid attention to the details or the place’s genuine life. In 2009, I returned to practice some new photography techniques. Suddenly, it was as if the wheels started to jump out in front of me, trying to tell me something about those people and that place. These wheels were everywhere around me and I had never even noticed them.”
Raj: A pathologist and cancer researcher in NYC, Raj only recently discovered his love for photography. Inspired by microscopy and the likes of Ansel Adams, Vivian Maier and Larry Burrows, his photos present unusual perspectives of ordinary objects and everyday events.
“I have fallen in love with New York since I moved here three years ago. I made these photographs to present unconventional or unusual perspectives on various aspects of this wonderful and unique city.”
Rebecca MB. Pearson: Rebecca has been taking pictures since the age of 10. While not a photographer by profession, various outlets all over the world have published her photos. Rebecca has also covered the semiannual Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit for the past five years.
“Whenever I begin my morning walk from the Lower East Side to my job at Washington Square Park, I cross several street corners that teem with life. I wanted to capture that life – street musicians, a person waiting for a bus, a student walking to school, a gaggle of giggly girls waiting to cross traffic, a New Yorker hailing a cab – with a Diana film camera. There is something this plastic film camera did to tell the story of New York City street corners that the most advanced digital SLR cannot quite express.”
Dayna Dotan: Dayna is a New York-based photographer who was born and raised in Israel. She draws inspiration from everything between the scenery in Tel Aviv to the streets of NYC.
“The pictures I take are an absolute reflection of who I am. Portraying my exact feelings of the moment, as well as my thoughts and beliefs in general. When I take a picture I think only on the object, of my camera, focused in the moment. When I upload a picture, I think of you. I want the onlooker to get a special feeling when he looks at a picture I shot.”