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Is This The Most Unique Camera Setup In New York City?

I spend a lot of time shooting or walking on the streets of New York. You see every type of camera imaginable here, from the latest and greatest DSLRs to old Rollei’s and film cameras. If you hang around B&H long enough, you’ll probably see Louis Mendes with his old Speed Graphic. But I have never, ever seen anyone shooting with what Justin Borucki is using. This guy might have the most unique camera setup in New York.

Justin Borucki has taken the concept of capturing fast-disappearing “old New York”, but added a unique twist. Instead of simply capturing store fronts, or areas of the city that are under dramatic and rapid change from gentrification, rezoning or condo developments, he’s gone one step further.

Justin has been shooting wet plate collodion photographs in areas of the city that remind him of what it used to look like when he was a kid, with the aim of capturing them before they change forever. Not only does the process yield beautiful imagery, but his work transforms modern day New York into something that looks like it was shot a century ago.

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn 2013
Brooklyn Bridge 2014
Bushwick, Brooklyn 2013
Chinatown 2014
Coney Island 2014
East Village 2014

You could pass this off as some kind of insane hipster folly, but Justin admits it took at least 6 months of work before he began to get images that were of any real substance. He’s been shooting like this for over a year now and working that hard and lugging around this heavy set up says a lot about his determination and committment to the projeect. If you watch the video, you can see just how sincere he is about what he is doing.

Justin has genuinely captured some wonderful imagery here. I remember how different he city looked when I first visited only 16 years ago compared to today. The change in the last few years alone has been startling. If nothing else, this is at least helping preserve a wonderful photographic legacy of what this amazing city used to look like before it’s all gone.

Via [American Photo Mag]

Special Thanks/All Images: Justin Borucki

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9 Comments

lexpaul's picture

Excellent

David Phasey's picture

Great photos - please can you update picture 3 "Bushwick Brooklyn 2013". For some reason there is a box with "Next / Close on last" over the middle of the image. Not a feature of the wet collodion process I don't think ;)

Dan E's picture

Amazing photos. I live an hour outside Manhattan, and always photographing there. I guess I am not one for change, and am sad the old school New York is disappearing. I can see it happening every time I go there. I am so glad this person is doing this project.

David Geffin's picture

Dan - same - i live in Brooklyn and have only been here a few years but have been coming back and forth to NYC since 1998, and more regularly since the early 2000s. It is incredible how it's changed just since then, both in scope and scale as well as how quickly. It's getting harder and harder to find the small mom and pop stores in the city unfortunately.

Tim Furlong Jr.'s picture

Question for David. I'm traveling to NYC next week and wanted to get a feel from you regarding shooting with my camera on a tripod. Is it generally safe to do this without attracting too much attention or becoming an obstruction? Also, I heard if you're caught using a tripod by the police you'll need to provide proof of a permit. Let me know, thanks!

Dan E's picture

Tim, I know you looking for Davids answer. But this is a link from the NYC Mayors office for you. http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/permits/permit_required_fee.shtml, I do not believe you need a permit, but I would print this page and carry it with you if the police inquire with you in your visit. According to this, you don't need one.

It lists use of "Equiptment" that requires a permit, but continues to say ("Equipment" does not include hand-held devices (such as hand-held film, still, or television cameras or video cameras) or tripods used to support such cameras. A permit is required in certain situations when the person filming asserts exclusive use of City property while using a hand-held device.)

Tim Furlong Jr.'s picture

Thanks, Dan!

David Geffin's picture

Hi Tim sorry for the late reply - how did it go? FYI I believe no permit is needed - i think the rules start that if you are shooting someone in a public area of NYC you need a permit, but i've never heard of anyone here going down that route for just walking around with a tripod. I've never heard of anyone being stopped by the NYPD for shooting on a tripod and see people doing it all the time.

Dan E's picture

Tim, I know you looking for Davids answer. But this is a link from the NYC Mayors office for you. http://www.nyc.gov/html/film/html/permits/permit_required_fee.shtml, I do not believe you need a permit, but I would print this page and carry it with you if the police inquire with you in your visit.