Exhibition Review: Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

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Alys Tomlinson, Image Source Photogrpaher, launches her new book of portraits taken across the stretch of road that mines its way through Manhattan

Who?

Image Source contributor, Alys Tomlinson.

What?

“Following Broadway” – a book launch to mark the end of a personal project of street portraits taken over a period of 4 years, across the length of Broadway, a vein running through Manhattan. Only shooting between one and four frames per person, Alys Tomlinson asked the subjects to look directly into the camera “as if we’d just caught each other’s eye.” Designed by Baxter and Bailey, each ‘page number’ is actually the street where the portrait was taken.

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway, Exhibition

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway, Exhibition

Decisive Moment?

The impact lies with the work viewed as a group, mirroring the experience and inspiration that Alys felt when on Broadway. “I saw the people and the landscape change. I passed city brokers, the homeless, downtown hipsters, kids on their way to baseball and even a couple of Armenian priests.”

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

You can slowly see the change from Midtown Manhattan, the tourists in the guise of the Statue of Liberty, to the lived-in faces beyond 70th street – the kids on bikes on West 96th, on the stoop on 105th, the girl in the communion dress on 214th.

Alys Tomlinosn, Following Broadway

Alys Tomlinosn, Following Broadway

Trend?

The book introduction speaks of the encounter between the photographer and the subjects, those photographed do look like they are peering beyond the frame of the image. You could say it echoes the testimonial trend in advertising. Or the the ongoing fascination among creatives with Mapping, from Pentagram designer Paula Scher to the lush constructions of Visual Editions, or Mishka Henner’s Google mapping to Edward Burtynsky’s eco-photos. But the project also underlines Manhattan as the original  Global Village, a small island on the Atlantic seaboard with its Statue of Liberty as the city of modernity.

Book Cover of Following Broadway, Alys Tomlinson

Book Cover of Following Broadway, Alys Tomlinson

Step in the shoes of Alys Tomlinson and see the Bankers, the beggars and bicyclists; the shoeshine and the skateboarders; the black, white, Latino; the Orthodox priests in their angular uniforms, the yarmulke-wearing Jewish kids. Globalization as a celebration of difference rather than uniformity.

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

Which Image?

I love the sheepish body language and the uncomfortable, bemused way he views the camera. Not the typical view of a NY businessman.

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

One question for the image-maker?

If you were going to repeat the study in London…which street would you pick?

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

Alys Tomlinson, Following Broadway

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