Tuesday, October 9, 2018

New York From Behind

If you enjoy New York street photography and the unique character of this city, there's an Instagram page you should check out. New York from Behind is the creation of Bryn and Justin. I asked them a few questions about their project.

What is New York From Behind?

New York from Behind is a concept we created just by being citizens of this city. New Yorkers have a lot to offer visually and so often the most interesting thing is the person right in front of you. Usually the front of someone’s outfit is what’s most interesting. We notice every day that the reverse is not true. Since so much of fashion is forward focused, it sometimes proves hard for us to find interesting content. So the fun for us is to catch people who do something different and make their canvas their backs as well as their fronts.

all photos via New York from Behind

How'd you get started?

We’re two good friends who first got started by taking pictures around the city and sharing them with our friends and each other. Eventually, we started the page as a place to more easily share photos of people who were doing fashionable, interesting, and funny things on their backs. People started following the page. As a born East Villager and a young curmudgeon, we have a sense of NYC history and it’s fun to find the colorful people of the past, who are increasingly hard to find in generic New York.

Do you go out hunting for behinds, or just snap them as they come?

Usually our daily commute offers enough content, especially if you hit 14th street, Soho, Union Square, Washington Square, the West/East Village, and Chelsea. There are always events around the city and holidays that we can count on for good “behinds.”

What trends have you noticed?

When we started in 2016, few people had messages on their backs and most of the ones who did seemed handmade. Now so many retailers are selling clothes with words written across the back and it’s spread from high fashion, where it started, to mass retail.

The other trend we’ve noticed is that patterns on clothing were always forward focused. You’d see the person approaching and while their front is highly embellished, the back is solid. Lately we’ve seen more of designs continuing on to the back as well.

A lot of the behinds seem to be messages. Thinking over all the behinds you've captured, what are people trying to say?

From “never settle for less than your best” to “live fast eat ass” a lot of them are messages to onlookers — words of advice, lessons learned the hard way, or generalized warnings of toughness. And those are just the ones with words that makes sense.

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