Streets Is Watching With Phil V

FRANK's newest regular contributor is Phil V, a Brooklynite armed with a series of polaroids he shoots throughout NYC. Phil's subjects range from rappers to big-name artists, to the streets of New York themselves. His organic interactions, which he’s titled Streets is Watching, will give you a peek into the behind-the-scenes lives of the many interesting people who reside in the Big Apple.

I’m a 22-year-old born and raised in Brooklyn. I first picked up a Polaroid camera in July 2012. When I bought my first camera, a close up 600, I wanted to capture moments of my everyday life. I was always interested in expressing my vision but felt I never had the proper resources. If I had the money, I’m sure I would've bought a DLSR camera, but I thought that the Polaroid would be a less expensive way to capture everyday moments.

Lately, I’ve incorporated a project that I initially started working on before shooting with a Polaroid wherein I capture the portraits of different artists in and around New York City. When I’m photographing these artists, who normally are behind their own cameras, I get a sense of mutual interest as they are as intrigued in what I'm creating as I am about their work. It’s also been very organic because I've only shot what really piques my interest, in my own environment.

I picked up a vintage 600 camera mainly to have the option of writing in the borders below or around the image. This space acts, in a way, as a title for every picture. Sometimes, I’ll give the artist the option to write anything they desire in the free space. With no restrictions at all, it’s always captivating to see what they end up writing. What they write can say a lot about them as a person, which adds to the impact of the photograph itself.

When I'm not capturing artists, I like to shoot scenery around New York City. The city is an extremely scenic place filled with interesting people, depending on your perspective. I've grown to love everything about polaroids, other than their price tag. The lack of space per frame makes me consider everything I want to capture. Will my vision fit in the space allotted? While DSLRs have their perks, such as producing higher quality images, Polaroid cameras create an organic interaction between people as well as an appreciation for what you’re shooting. Plus, there’s nothing better than having tangible photos that you can pass onto the next generation. And while I'm starting to have scheduled photo shoots with my Polaroid, I've realized that capturing interesting photographs doesn't come from the kind of hardware you use, but rather the way you use the camera and supplies you have to capture your vision.

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