One Screen School House takes a field trip: New York Facades With Steve Yegelwel by Anna Cox

I love New York City with its soaring sky scrapers, crowded sidewalks, and noisy streets. We used to travel there once or twice a year, but then we all grew up and started families and suddenly vacations aren’t as easy to plan. I happened upon Steve a little over a year ago and fell in love with his photos. He catches the colorful personality of the facades of NYC fantastically. Many times you feel you are gazing out the window in a fourth floor walkup with him. Steve is a master at catching the shadows and color that makes New York what it is. Many times, I feel like I can almost hear the taxis honking and the woosh of the crowd passing me by as I gaze.

A: Tell us a little about you away from social media.

S: I work in the music industry, and live in New York City.
I know it’s quite fashionable to say something like, “I’ve stopped watching television and now devote most of my free time to artistic pursuits and self discovery.” But that’s not the case for me. I love watching television and my taste is all over the map. Everything from Homeland and Breaking Bad, to car auction shows on Velocity.
I also love films: John Ford, Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Eric Rohmer, Luis Bunuel, John Huston…

A: I can tell you I woud be hard pressed to give up T.V. Beside books it is my favorite form of escapism. Tell me about NYC. To me it seems almost overwhelming with inspiration.

S: Yes, NYC is definitely a constant source of inspiration. So much architecture, so much energy. I really love it here!

A: When did you first start shooting? 

S: I first started shooting a little bit in high school, and even majored in visual media in college.  Oddly enough, I’ve never actually owned a D/SLR camera. (In college, I had to borrow my roommate’s SLR. Thanks Jim!)

It wasn’t until I got my iPhone 4, and joined Instagram last year, that I started to shoot again and became interested in architectural mobile photography. (Taking pictures of buildings with my cell phone).

A: I love it that so many people answer that they didnt really start shooting until they got a phone. What are some of your inspirations?

S: Honestly, inspiration is a tough one. It’s hard to explain, but I’m most inspired when I see something differently than how I’m used to seeing it, and it causes my heart to beat a little faster. (That probably makes no sense. Sorry.)
Also, the amazingly talented and supportive community on Instagram inspire me all the time.

Thank  you Steve for taking time out of your day to chat with me. And thank you for allowing us to see through your lens! It is definitely a beautiful view.


Here are some quick tips for the next time you go out:

~ Take advantage  of your environment. Focus in on the details the best show the building and its environment. Give your viewer a clue to what the energy is around a place. Times Square wouldn’t be Times Square without the tourists, taxis, and mobs of people.

~ Choose your angle carefully.  This may mean changing your vantage point. Watch for distortion as you shoot tall buildings.

~ Experiment with different times of day. Early and late light will pull details and textures from facades whereas full sun can wash out the details. Watch for harsh shadows that can hide the small details.

~ Try shooting in  different types of weather. A deep blue sky can be a perfect backdrop for a tall skyscraper when it accentuates the size but for a smaller building the vast blue can deaden your space.

~ Look for small details to photograph. Wether that means archways or wrought iron window frames they all give a taste of the larger design elements.

~ Try shooting in a series. Wide open shots coupled with the finer details can create a dynamic grouping.

~ Each structure has it’s own personality. Identify  that and use it to your advantage.


Class dismissed!



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Anna Cox