A quick story, using black & white film, of a hot summer's day in one of the world's most beautiful cities.

This Sunday we decided to head to Brooklyn for lunch at Chachamatcha (it’s at Time Out Market New York at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge). They were playing Taylor Swift’s Lover in the café, so the day was off to a good start. Once there, I loaded up an Ilford HP5 400 and took this series of shots. I had no particular intention other than to retrace Dumbo’s day in Manhattan. The advantage of this equipment is its simplicity: the Minolta is very light and easy to forget, the 50mm is really all-purpose, and the film costs nothing and doesn’t put any pressure on me to exploit all the qualities touted by the brand.

We then strolled around, through the back alleys of this part of Brooklyn I hadn’t visited in a long time. The change is radical – as is often the case in the U.S. – lots of stores have moved in, many buildings have been renovated. On one street corner, an open door offers a view of a boxing gym, from which the sounds of impact can be heard.

Dumbonians exist

There are always a lot of people, even in the morning, in Washington St. to take THE photo; I wonder when it’s possible to take it with few people. I decide, as I like to do in life, to take the opposite tack: “Dumbonians exist!”

Street styles

One of the things I love about New York is the freedom of the outfits. This freedom and variety makes you want to congratulate everyone on their outfits, the way the different pieces match or the originality of the combinations. It’s a treat around every corner.
Every time we come to New York, we get this feeling.

“From Dumbo to Manhattan with a roll of Ilford HP5
Original Soundtrack”

When you’re walking around New York in summer, it’s very hot, and the street vendors know it, so they all suggest that you buy fresh water from them in the same way. One of them had the good idea of recording himself to spare his vocal cords. I recorded him too.

The New York subway is much dirtier and rustier than the one in Paris. But it’s much more logical, photogenic and air-conditioned! We ended the afternoon at the Moma, where you can find a helicopter hanging from the ceiling.

The day ended at South Seaport, not far from our hotel. This is one of New York’s most festive neighborhoods, where people come to have a drink and enjoy the view, especially from Pier 17.

The Minolta Dynax 5 : this camera is a very “plastic”, but also light & modern. First introduced around 1993 it has all the modern SLR refinements : there’s no difficulty in inserting the film, since everything is motorized. So you don’t have to worry about securing the primer – it’s driven automatically by the unit. This also means that this device is battery-dependent. No batteries, no photos.

Focusing can be autofocus, on the central rectangle that turns red when you press the shutter release halfway, or manual. The focus mode is selected by pressing and holding the button on the left of the lens. There are various automatic shooting modes (portrait, landscape…) : the camera determines the pause time and aperture for you, according to the sensitivity of your film. There is also the possibility of bracketing images, to modulate the lighting conditions of the shots.

It is also very small and light, an easy choice to carry it all day long.

Ilford HP5 400

Even if you can see a few clouds in these images, you know that summer in New York is a bright time. Some of the images are almost over-exposed; personally, this doesn’t bother me more than that, as technique isn’t as important to me as rendering and recalling the sensations of that day. And that’s why, even in black & white, you can really feel the heat and burning light of that day. My only regret was loading the 24 exposure version of the Ilford HP400. I think “A day’s worth of film” is a great idea (we’ve all had film stuck in a camera for several months), as it “forces” you to document as much as possible and thus finish your film; in this case, 24 exposures in NYC is a bit short…


These pictures were taken during a summer trip to NYC/

Made with : Minolta Dynax 5 & 50mm f1.7, Ilford HP5 400

Availability : Ready to print files on my shop