About These Photos…

This website concentrates primarily on my New York based landscape & nature photography. However, I’ve also included examples from other photo projects. Below are brief descriptions of these projects. For a more detailed description, click the “Photo Notes” tab on the homepage.

 

The New York Nature galleries contain photos from two ongoing landscape studies, “Urban Nature: A New York City Landscape Study” and “New York Nature: Landscapes of the Empire State.”  The New York City nature photos are from project I began in 2005 and documents New York City’s natural spaces. Within a few years I expanded this nature theme to include the entire state of New York. I plan to continue working on both these nature studies for the remainder of my life. My goal is to portray a sense of what New York looked before European settlement. As a result, I've generally avoided landscapes that have been heavily altered by man.

 

New York Waterfalls is a collection of waterfalls from around the state. This is an ongoing project as well.

 

Bronx Blues: Morning Walks in Van Cortlandt Park is an ongoing project from morning walks in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park. With this series of photographs, I’m attempting to convey a sense of moodiness within a dreamlike landscape. It's my hope that these photographs will allow the viewer to escape for a few moments into a mysterious and dreamlike world.
 

Details of Nature is a gallery highlighting details of the forest that often have a natural sense of design. Sometimes these details have a strong abstract look about them and have convinced me that nature was the first true Abstact Expressionist.

 

Remnants of New York City These photos are part of a series documenting various storefronts, buildings and details that have either disappeared from the New York City landscape or still exist, but represent a bygone era of the city. Many of these places, at one time, defined my New York City experience.

 

Photographs 1979 - Present is a collection photographs that don’t fall into any particular category. The photos range from travel-styled photos to documentary and photojournalism to any subject I found interesting to aim my camera at it. These are photographs created for the simple pure joy of creating a photograph over a 40 year period.

 

Coney Island - An unfinished Photo Essay / 1998-2000 is a photo project I worked on while I was a photo researcher at the Black Star Picture Agency. Though I'd given up street photography years earlier, working at a photojournalism-based photo agency made me want to hit the streets again with my camera. I figured Coney Island would be a great theme for a photo essay and spent much time there between 1998 and 2000.

After about two years, the trip from my home in the Kingsbridge neighborhood of The Bronx to Coney Island was getting a bit tiresome. Plus, I would soon discover a new idea for a long term photo project: documenting the remnants of old growth forests within New York City.

In retrospect, it was great fun photographing Coney Island. I generally photographed whatever caught my eye rather than focusing on a particular theme. I now see these photographs as a document of the area surrounding the amusement park that would eventually undergo extensive redevelopment. 

Ever since I was a child growing up in Pittsburgh, I'd heard about Coney Island in books, movies and songs. One song that really struck me was Lou Reed’s ”Coney Island Baby." This collection of photographs is dedicated to the late Lou Reed.

 

Streets of Pittsburgh goes back to my photographic origins. Between 1979 and 1985 I roamed the streets of Pittsburgh photographing most anything that caught my attention. The street portraits of the people I photographed reflect a largely forgotten group of Pitsburghers that made up large part of the city. There are also photos of many storefronts that reflected the ethnic flavor of the neighborhoods as well as buildings that have vanished from there Pittsburgh landscape. I consider these photographs to be a truthful and historic document of what the city looked like if you were roaming around the city on any given day.
 

Street Photography: 1980's - 1990's goes back to my photographic origins. My love of photography was inspired by the great street photographers of the mid-20th Century. Starting in Pittsburgh, with stops in London, Berlin and ending in New York City, these photographs are examples of the street photography I did from the late-1970’s through the early-1990’s. 

 

Early Work: Flowers in the City is a project I worked on in the mid-1990’s when I became less interested in street photography and more interested in the urban landscape. For years I thought about a photo project where nature would contrast with a gritty urban environment. In the mid-1990’s, while searching for a new photo project to work on, I decided to work with a flowers / urban landscape theme. However, this photo project had been on my mind as early as 1980 when I saw the film “Times Square” and heard a song called “Flowers in the City” by David Johansen and Robin Johnson. The title of the song, as opposed to the lyrics, was the true inspiration. 

The original prints from this series were gelatin silver prints hand printed in a wet darkroom and then painstakingly hand tinted with oils. Signed color pigment print reproductions are available. Also, some of the original prints are availalble purchase. Please contact me directly for a price quote on the remaining original pieces.

 

Thank you for taking the time to view my photographs,

 

Richard Serviss

New York City, 2020