NYC Robert Herman is Dead THE Street Photographer jumps to his death from Manhattan apartment
A 64-year-old man Robert Herman left a grim suicide note before leaping to his death from his luxury apartment building in Manhattan, The Post has learned. Post Source: nypost.com
Emergency services were called to the building on Chambers Street, near North End Avenue.
But the man had died instantly after landing in Tribeca Park’s courtyard, authorities said.
“How do you enjoy life?” the man’s note read, police sources said.
WIKI BIO Robert Herman: the language of photography
Robert Herman has captured life and people in his street photography since he was a student at NYU in the late 1970s . In his series The New Yorkers he immortalized life in New York, people, reflections and unique moments of small coincidences on tons of rolls of film. The route depicts an era in which many young artists of today would dream of living. Because although it’s no secret that life in New York in the 70s and 80s was anything but easy, Robert’s photographs from that time made it clear why it was definitely worth the fight. Because honestly: what is more inspiring than the hard and honest life in a city like New York?
In the foreword to The New Yorkers , I read that you spent a lot of time in the cinema in your childhood and watched a few films over and over again – until you were no longer interested in the content, but only in could pay attention to the cinematography. What films were these and what exactly did you like about them?
I saw a lot of films in my father’s cinema in Brooklyn back then. Blow Up and Zabriskie Point by Michelangelo Antonioni , and of course American films like Easy Rider and Two Bandits . I loved her cinematography in natural light: the bright, rich colors and the compositions of the pictures. Watching the same film over and over anchored it in my subconscious and therefore still influences my photography today.
What made you switch from filmmaking to photography?
Photography was my way to live creatively every day. Filmmaking requires incredible sums of money, a film crew, and things like that. After graduating from NYU Film School , I got a job as a “Production Still Photographer”. Between the shoots, I had to kill so much time that I decided to buy an extra roll of film, a Kodachrome, and take my own street photos around the location. I fell in love with the beauty of a properly exposed Kodachrome. One of my photos from the New York series, Greenpoint , was taken during one of these breaks in Brooklyn. The woman who hangs the clothes out of the window lived right behind the supermarket parking lot where our film trucks stood.
If you look at your photographs of New York in the 70s and 80s today, the life depicted looks so beautifully rough, romantic and melancholy. How did you experience the city back then? What was the life of a young artist like there?
At that time I decided to photograph the everyday people and situations around my apartment in Little Italy, Soho, Tribeca and the Greenwich Village. In a way, I rebelled against the glamor and fashion of that time. I could identify with the daily struggle for people’s survival because I did the same. I believe that this compassion has been carried over into the photos and that they still reflect it today.
What is the story behind the Eyepatch picture ?
I passed this briefly erected scaffolding with orange and white diagonal stripes, which I was immediately taken with. In addition, the sunlight fell very nicely into the scene at that moment. I took a lot of pictures of this composition, of all kinds of people who passed it. In the end, I chose this because it is a nice metaphor for the photographer who is blind in the left eye even when looking through the viewfinder.
Your street portraits look so wonderfully spontaneous. Is that you? How do you approach portraits of strangers on the streets? How do you choose people and how do you approach them?
When I go out to take pictures, I react instinctively. It is no different with portraits. I have to feel a certain attraction for my motives, that’s the starting point …
Can you choose one of your personal favorite photos of the route and tell us a bit about it?
One of my favorite portraits is the boy with the big glasses. I felt very fragile myself at the time and its apparent vulnerability reflected mine. All of the photographs expose something about their photographers and The New Yorkers is a reflection of my condition at the time. In other words, my street photographs are two different things: a documentation of time and place, as well as self-portraits.
I read that you love the spontaneity of photography very much. The New Yorkers contains a whole lot of pictures that look like you reacted at lightning speed and captured a brief fleeting moment perfectly. Was that one of the reasons for you to switch to digital photography at some point? How do you see the difference between digital and analog photography?
I miss the analog photography very much, especially Kodachrome! The quality of the colors, contrasts and archival properties made it the best color film ever. Unfortunately, in 2005 Kodak stopped producing and developing the film.
Of course, digital photography also has its advantages. It is cheaper in price (if you omit the external hard drives that you have to buy). (laughs)
In many things, there are hardly any differences between analog and digital, in the end the photo still makes the eye behind the camera.
It is not the device that makes the photo strong, but the unique, personal perspective of the photographer. That is one of the reasons that led to my second monograph, The Phone Book . The photos in it were all taken with the iPhone and the Hipstamatic app. Because part of my realization over the years was that expressive photos can be taken with any camera.
Can you imagine photographing a New York route these days?
I am currently photographing a new route in New York and Naples, Italy with my iPhone.
Apart from the digital aspect, how would a future NY route differ from yours from the 70s and 80s?
I am saddened by the disappearance of the mom and pop shops that were so important to street photographers like me in New York in the 80s. Today, the city, and Manhattan in particular, is full of corporate chains like Starbucks and H&M, and everyone is constantly on the phone … I wanted to do work that deals less with the background and more with the subjects.
My new book will focus on strong women in the streets. More than ever before, women today enjoy the freedom to express their uniqueness and I want to celebrate these incredibly beautiful individualities with my upcoming route.
Photography is a language, learn to speak it fluently.
What is your advice to today’s young photographers?
Talent is just the starting point! Taking photos continuously is essential to develop this talent. Practice, learn, snap. It is the cliché of Ten Thousand Hours , but it also applies to photographers in particular.
The second thing that distinguishes talented amateurs from professional photographers is the ability to revise their work and create context for his work. In other words, shoot with the body and edit with the head . And you have to be very good at both!
Painters are always very aware of what came first. First study the history of photography. Find the monographs and photographers that interest you. What makes your photos expressive? How are they constructed? Why is the big picture bigger than the sum of its details? Good photography has something invisible at its core.
If you want to make your routes into books, try to find the underlying principle that makes the connection: why is a certain photo the first picture in a book and another one the last? Why were two photos chosen to lie opposite each other on the double pages?
Photography is a language, learn to speak it fluently.
What are your current plans and projects?
I am currently finishing a book dummy of my black and white work that I did while living on a farm in Georgia, USA from 2003-2005.
See more of Robert Herman’s photographs and projects on Instagram