New York is one of the most photographed cities in the world, but book publisher Trope has managed to compile a collection of images that offers a contemporary take in its latest city series book.
Curated by Michelle Fitzgerald and Jack Van Boom, the New York: Trope City Edition is broken down into five sections: Streets of New York, Transit, Central Park, Waterfronts & Bridges, and From Above showing off all five boroughs of the iconic city from a variety of angles.
Known for its towering skyscrapers, hot dog vendors at every corner, legendary yellow taxis and the busy, brightly-lit Times Square, New York is one of those cities with something for everyone. Whether you want to stroll around the sprawling Central Park, visit the colossal Statue of Liberty or fill your belly with delicious food from one of the world's food capitals, New York is varied, vibrant and has an enigmatic pull that makes it so many people's favorite city.
As a center for food, culture, fashion, business, sports, art, and everything in-between, capturing New York in new ways presents new challenges. In this latest book, Trope focuses on some of the city's newer landmarks and modern editions while still including some of its best-known places.
We spoke to Michelle Fitzgerald, who spent over a year discovering the photographers included in the book, to find out a little bit more about what life is like as a New Yorker, what her favorite image is and what city Trope plans to celebrate next.
New York is one of the most photographed cities in the world. What were you looking for in the images you included in this book?
You’re right! New York is easily one of the most photographed cities in the world. We were looking for images that felt very current and included more recent additions to the city, like The Edge and Little Island. But we didn’t want to focus on just tourist destinations – we wanted the book to appeal to New Yorkers, offering a new perspective on the city. The book has a very modern, urban sensibility, and equally includes the city’s iconic buildings and structures, as well as street scenes that encompass more of the day-to-day experience of New York.
How did you discover the photographers you included in the book?
A few of the photographers in the book are people we’ve worked with in the past on previous book projects, like Mike Poggioli (Blue Ridge Dreaming), Michael Sidofsky (Wonder Around Every Corner), and Graham Chapman (Trope Chicago). We found many photographers on Instagram – they are all taking amazing pictures of New York on a regular basis. And then once we started having conversations with photographers, they would recommend other photographers whose work they admired. It was a very organic process.
Were any of the photos taken specifically for the book or were they already in existence in the photographers’ portfolios?
The majority of the photos came from the photographers’ existing portfolios, but as we were putting the book together, we realized there were some places that we felt were missing. We’re grateful that several of the photographers went back out to get specific shots that helped complete the book.
For those who haven’t been to New York, can you try to describe its atmosphere in just a few sentences?
New York is vibrant, electric, and energizing. I love that you can walk around at midnight and be surrounded by people. There is such a pulse to the city that you really can’t find anywhere else in the country.
Are there one or two images that particularly stand out to you?
I love so many of the photos in the book! One that really stands out to me is an aerial shot of Central Park and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir by Selvon Ramsawak. Central Park is such a magical part of the city, and while we know it’s large, it’s hard to understand the actual size of the park from street level. Selvon’s shot truly captures the park’s expanse.
Why did you decide to include an index with the photographer's names rather than credit each photographer under the photo?
This is the fifth book in Trope’s City Edition series, and this follows the format we’ve used in our previous volumes. But we made the decision initially so that the photos remain the focus on each page.
Did you already have an idea of the quotes you wanted to include or did you need to research the perfect ones?
Which is your favorite?
We definitely had to research to find the perfect quotes. We wanted to avoid anything that felt cheesy or overdone. We focused on compiling both historic and more recent quotes that reflected on New York, and I feel like we achieved that balance.
My favorite quote in the book is from Padma Lakshmi, who said, “New York is a fantastic city to lose yourself in, but also to find out who you are and who you want to be.” As a former New Yorker, I feel that quote captures the city perfectly.
Do you think people will see a lesser-known side to New York through this book, with so many images from the gaze of so many photographers?
I do! The book isn’t meant to be a comprehensive guide to the city, but rather reflect the interests of the individual photographers. I loved when we were able to get multiple shots of the same place but taken by different photographers and offering distinct views of the same location. The photos give a new perspective on something that may have initially seemed familiar to the viewer.
Trope now has photography books on New York, London, Chicago, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Where’s next?
We are currently at work on the next book in our City Edition series, Trope Paris. It will be available next May ahead of the Summer 2024 Paris Olympics.
These coffee table photo books are beautiful collections of photos to flick through at your leisure.