Simone de Beauvoir’s famous quote, “There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless,” is understood by anyone who steps foot in this city. British photographer Luke Abraham finds this quote to be one of the most fitting to his feelings for New York City, particularly because he finds little desire to sleep whenever he visits. Luke explained to VPM that many of his recent work trips to the Big Apple are very short, requiring him to stay up all hours of the night in order to capture the specific shots he needs. With that said, he made sure it was understood that staying awake for hours on end is more of a thrill than tiresome because in a city like New York, you don’t want to miss a beat.
While Luke’s Instagram account and portfolio are predominately made up of colored photographs of various cities worldwide, we noticed that his New York City photographs are mostly shot in black and white. Here’s what Luke had to say about this:
VPM: Is there any particular reason why you choose to shoot New York’s cityscape in black and white?
LA: New York has a grittiness to it that no other city has, which is why I love to capture it on film. It’s a world leader in the arts, culture, and commerce, but it has a certain run-down aspect to it. London and Paris, for example, are too perfect, too laid out, whereas New York is one of those cities that looks like it’s lived in by real people—what you see is what you get and I think thats why people love it.
New York is a black and white city. There is something about the city that screams fine art; if you stand and look at the buildings 30 seconds at a time, even if it’s your own office building, everything bears a profound Art Deco statement. Color photography is far too commercialized, especially when you look through the masses of photos taken of New York City every year. These photographs are blurred and saturated, allowing nothing to appear as it seems. I think black and white reflects the real New York in such a way that its not one giant movie set; it conveys the city for what it really is—a cesspool of dreams, shadows, and liberation.
Check out Luke’s Instagram account @labrahams19891 to see some of his work that has been featured in Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Buzzfeed, New York Times, and the Telegraph.