Robert Herman’s Kodachromes of 1980s New York City form part of his series of street photography taken from 1978 to 2005. A film student at NYU, Herman gained creative fuel and purpose through the camera and walking.
“I felt like a very vulnerable person,” he recalled in 2013. “Photography was my intermediary between me and the world. I was trying to find peace wandering the city. After a while you get in a Zen space and the world slows down. And when you’re an outsider, you notice things that other people just walk by.”
What part did walking play in Robert’s photos of 1980s New York? In Walking (1831), Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817–May 6, 1862) tells us “every walk is a sort of crusade”.
Illustrator Maira Kalman adds: “I walk everywhere in the city. Any city. You see everything you need to see for a lifetime. Every emotion. Every condition. Every fashion. Every glory.”
To walk and lose yourself in the city is a wonderful escape. Add the camera, plus the wit and technique to record the moments that pass before us, and Robert Herman shows us New York, the buildings, things and people that make it with light, empathy and insight.