This is how I remember New York City in 2002. I was 19 years old and had just moved to Manhattan from my family’s farm on Long Island. It was the first summer after the September 11 attacks. Workers were removing the last of the debris from the collapsed Twin Towers. The city felt both immense and fragile compared to the groundedness of my childhood home.
On weekdays, I worked in Arnold Newman’s photography studio. After hours and on weekends, I walked through the city’s five boroughs with my camera. When someone made eye contact with me, I asked if I could make a portrait of them. At first, I assumed people would respond with caution. I was a stranger. The city was recovering from an event that shook its sense of security. Yet, most people said yes and looked straight into my camera lens. I am grateful they chose to trust me.
STANLEY/BARKER will publish this project in September 2021.