There are few cities that inspire the modern world as much as New York City does. It’s ever growing, ever rising – a kaleidoscope of American culture. With my series “Sidewalk Theatre” I explore the play that unfolds day by day against the backdrop of New York’s restless concrete jungle.
My aim is to expose both the glossy surface and darker underbelly of American culture while portraying a witty, affectionate satire of a diverse and fast-paced city.
I shoot mostly in color, with crisp, vivid colors. I put people at the very center of my photography. Secluded from the current of the masses, the focus suddenly lies on this individual. And with the image the story unfolds and enters a dialogue with the spectator.
I always have my camera on me so I shoot on my daily commute, in my lunch breaks, really anywhere and anytime. Sometimes I walk for 20 blocks without taking one single shot. On some days I return home without any shot I deem worthy of keeping. And sometimes I stick around one spot and find dozens of scenes popping up around me.
I can’t really tell you what exactly I’m looking for. I know it, when it unfolds in front of me. It can be a certain gesture someone is making. It can be a moment of closeness and privacy in the chaos of the streets. In the end, it’s a slice from the life of a fellow New Yorker. A moment that stuck out for me as special and worth conserving.
Photography is the best way I can express my thoughts and feelings. There are so many stories out there in the streets worth telling. Being able to conserve an entire life story in one picture – it’s like magic. And of course, it’s highly addictive. I think what drives many of us to go out into the streets again and again is that insatiable hunger for more, the constant hunt for that much-hailed decisive moment.
About Mathias Wasik
I’m a human rights activist, and a documentary and street photographer. Born in Poland, I grew up and spent most of my life in Germany, before I moved to the USA in 2015 with my wife. I have worked as a campaigner for organisations like Amnesty International and All Out and I try to combine my human rights work and my passion for photography whenever I can. [Official Website]