Photographers' Blog

Yoga, butt naked

New York, United States

By Shannon Stapleton

When I was assigned to photograph a naked yoga session my first thought was: how am I going to illustrate this in a way that people will actually be able to publish?

I had to take pictures of a room full of naked people without showing any frontal nudity, and I wanted to do the job in the most artistic way possible without allowing the images to become voyeuristic. 

When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find both the yoga students and the instructor were totally open to what I was doing. They didn’t seem to have any inhibitions about being photographed while naked – and while participating in a very strenuous yoga session at that.

It was a good-sized studio and there was space to move around relatively freely in the room, where the heat was turned up very high. The energy was palpable. Even though I wasn’t actually participating in the class, I felt as though I had had my own little workout once the hour-long session was over.

 

Avoiding getting shots of people’s genitalia and other un-publishable angles was the most challenging part, but I found that, by keeping a careful eye on the viewfinder, it was possible.

Slip slidin’ away

New York, New York

By Andrew Kelly

When an editor reaches out to you with: “Want an assignment that involves biking, drinking, Vikings and shopping carts?” there’s only one answer. And with that, I was Reuters’ assigned photographer for Idiotarod 2014.

The Idiotarod’s website describes it as: “an urban spoof of the Alaskan dog sled race”, namely, the Iditarod, which takes place around the same time.

The Alaskan race involves a grueling multi-day trek by dog sled across the Tundra, compared to the New York version, which consists of drunk hipsters pushing decorated shopping carts from bar to bar over a 5 mile route.

My day with the Naked Cowboy

New York City, NY

By Darren Ornitz

Having lived in New York for eight years, Times Square is nowhere near the top of my list of places to photograph. In fact, it’s probably close to dead last. Just the other day however, I got an assignment to roam the chaotic streets trying to find a feature story. Walking through the revolving doors of the Thomson Reuters building, I wondered where I would even begin. While something exciting could happen at any moment, the chances of running into Elmo getting arrested seemed improbable.

After only a few blocks I found myself wedged between a family trying to take photographs of the apparently fascinating Nasdaq building and a bunch of men screaming at me while waving pamphlets in my face about how much fun I’d have sitting on top of a red bus in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic touring the city.

Among the throngs of people I spotted in the middle of the road was an African American man wearing white briefs, cowboy hat, boots, and a guitar. It was a “Naked Cowboy!” Everyone has heard about the original Naked Cowboy, but I had never seen this particular cowboy before. He was a young guy, rocking out on his guitar in the middle of the road, with a grin on his face and a little swag to his strut. I decided to follow him around a bit. At the very least I could snap a few fun photos of him interacting with tourists, all the while getting a little humorous entertainment.

A piece of the past with the present

New York City, NY

By Shannon Stapleton

Every time I have to cover a story related to the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center I always hope that I will be able to forget that day and the so many lives affected by the tragedy.

Today was not different. It’s a beautiful spring day and being down near the Ground Zero site was probably the last place I wanted to be. But covering one of the last pieces being hoisted onto One World Trade Center did provide a glimmer of closure.

It’s taken way too long but the site is being transformed into more of a place of remembrance – a place, at least for me, that I can go near and not be totally engulfed by the memories of what I saw and what happened on that tragic day.

NYC view atop Columbus

By Shannon Stapleton

In my 15 years of living in the New York City metropolitan area I’ve probably passed by the Columbus Monument in Columbus Circle at least a 100 times. Whether it was the numerous Thanksgiving Day Parades, going to the Whole Foods at Lincoln Center for lunch or just walking into Central Park to be honest I never really took that much time to sit and enjoy the beauty of the Columbus monument and the surrounding fountain.

So when I was asked to cover the 810-square-foot living room atop the Columbus Monument art installation titled “Discovering Columbus,” by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi, I thought where is that? On 72nd and Columbus or 59th? It really didn’t strike any visual bell in my memory.

SLIDESHOW: A ROOM FOR COLUMBUS

That changed when I ascended up the elevator to the installation and saw the Columbus statue standing in a living room surrounded by chairs, a television set and some funky pink wallpaper. It was very surreal to be sitting in a living room elevated above Columbus Circle looking out at Central Park and down 59th street.

Occupy Happy Birthday

By Lucas Jackson

It has been one year since a group of protesters began sleeping on the ground in Zuccotti Park to protest growing income inequality, corporate influence on politics, climate change, and a number of other issues.

SLIDESHOW: RETURN OF OCCUPY

One year ago no-one had heard of Occupy Wall St. and it was fascinating to watch the excitement and size of the protest grow over time. What began as a rag tag group of people who came together to make a semi-permanent presence near Wall St. to spread their message in the heart of the New York financial district quickly grew. For those of us who live and work in New York it was a refreshing change to have a news story grow organically in a city where everything is always polished and shined to dullness in order to present to the media.

For the first time since living here there was a story that allowed you in to cover not only the unplanned demonstrations and actions but also the participants as they sat in Zuccotti dreaming and planning the direction of this movement. Most of the time demonstrators have to pre-approve everything they did with the NYPD and the city but Occupy was refreshingly obstinate in not pre-approving anything and took advantage of their constitutional right to assemble and demonstrate their displeasure with the direction of the country.

Swinging on trapezes over Manhattan

By Lee Celano

Swinging upside down on a trapeze above Manhattan, Josh Cohen gains enough height to catch the “flyer.” He calls out “Listo!” meaning he is ready. “Hep!” Cohen shouts to Greg Cooper, the signal for him to let go of the fly bar and launch out for Cohen’s hands. The catch is made. After swinging back twice, Cooper lets go, turns in mid air and grabs the bar, completing the “return.”

Trapeze School New York is located on a rooftop at Pier 40 on the Hudson River. Since 2002, students of all ages learn trapeze maneuvers with the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan as a backdrop. Twice a week, the staff and advanced performers like Cohen and Cooper practice well into the night honing their technique and style.

The majority of the school’s clients are city-dwellers looking for a unique form of recreation. For Mark Hopkins, a senior vice president at Fleishman-Hillard, his first time flying was “fantastic, really fun.” Veteran Josh Cohen, an insurance broker by day, started his life on the trapeze performing at a Club Med in 1999 and has stuck with it through career and city changes. He spends a couple nights a week flying and catching with his wife, Katrina. Some of the regulars perform part time in circuses, and former students have landed jobs with major companies like Cirque Du Soleil.

A voice of Occupy Wall Street

By Andrew Burton

When the Occupy Wall Street movement began their Spring Training sessions earlier this year, I realized I had focused much of my coverage throughout the fall of 2011 on the most sensationalistic events – large marches, mass arrests and sporadic violence. It dawned on me that I had seen very little photojournalistic work, from myself or other photographers, looking at Occupy Wall Street’s more mundane or personal aspects – essentially, who the protesters were beyond the demonstrations.

SLIDESHOW: LIFE OF AN OCCUPY ACTIVIST

I decided to approach Austin Guest to see if he’d be interested in allowing me to follow him as an individual. Guest is an organizer, videographer and creative-action planner in the movement. I had seen him lead marches, moderate group conversations and give speeches – in essence, I had been impressed at his ability to speak to groups and lead large rallies. Austin was open to the idea and over the past month I’ve tried to spend as much time with him as possible – before, during and after events, with friends, at the bar, eating dinner, shopping for supplies and training for future events.

What I found in Guest was a fascinating character – a Harvard-educated man who had been living in Brooklyn for the past seven years, working with Align, a community based organization focused on housing for low-income communities. Guest, who worked two blocks south of Zuccotti Park, was initially skeptical of the movement, but by mid-October, 2011, had been won over. He says a key moment was October 1, 2011 – a day in which over 700 people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. On that day, Guest was on the pedestrian level of the bridge, watching hundreds of protesters getting arrested on the vehicle-level below him. He found himself simultaneously mic-checking the group (leading a conversation) about what the protesters should do, and filming the arrests. Later that day, he went and logged the footage for Occupy’s media team.

A hotel that floats their boat

By Allison Joyce

The Boatel is an eccentric floating hotel run by artists in New York City’s Far Rockaway neighborhood. Built out of 16 abandoned or discarded boats at Marina 59, near Kennedy airport, the lovingly restored accommodations are decorated with colorful paints and decorations. A psychedelic-themed cabin is complete with tie-dye and a beaded chandelier, while another with a science theme has fossils, a magnifying glass and binoculars.

A one night stay costs between $55 to $100 for a boat, all of which can comfortably accommodate at least two people, and in some cases more. The proceeds go toward taxes, upkeep, and future art residency programs that will allow more boats to be restored.

SLIDESHOW: NEW YORK’S BOATEL

What is really unique about the Boatel is that no one is trying to make a profit – they are only trying to support and perpetuate a thriving local art community.

My day with Cocoa, the New York goat

By Allison Joyce


A few weeks ago, while I was at the Empire Hotel having a drink with friends, a latecomer arrived and laughingly said that on his way, he had passed by a goat hanging out at Lincoln Center. We were incredulous until he showed us a photo he had snapped on his phone and sure enough, there it was, a goat actually hanging out in the Lincoln Center fountain! Within days I read a story on Gawker titled “Amazing Pizza Goat Risks Overexposure,” which stated that the “pizza goat”, aka Cocoa, had dined at Serafina. I thought that this would make an incredible visual “only in New York” sort of story, so I tracked down the goat’s owner, Cyrus Fakroddin, and met them at their home last weekend in Summitt, New Jersey with the Reuters TV crew.

We followed Cyrus and Cocoa around the home they share as Cocoa wandered about, lounged in front of a warm fire, hung out with Cyrus’s pet chickens, and even jumped up onto the kitchen counter to snack on some fresh fruit. Before we headed into the city for the day, we ran an errand at the post office, and when confronted with their “no goats allowed” policy Cyrus simply told them that she was a service goat and that was that– we were in! Walking around downtown Summitt, it was clear that Cyrus and Cocoa were local celebrities; they were greeted many times by their local fans.

After the post office we headed out to Manhattan. We went to Central Park, where Cyrus serenaded Cocoa to sleep by playing his harmonica. We then hopped on the subway to go to Little Italy for lunch at an outdoor cafe, finally ending the night in Times Square, where Cocoa followed Cyrus into Forever 21 to browse. They were quickly escorted out by a laughing security guard. After their shopping excursion, Cyrus put Cocoa down for another nap under the glowing lights of the square.