Tarik Tosun takes hypnotic photos of NYC on film
All pictures by Tarik Tosun. Used with permission. For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phobloographer.
“As I walked down to the river that night, I remember seeing a fog rolling over One World Trade Center,” photographer Tarik Tosun told me. “And I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is gonna be really cool.’ A software engineer by day, Tosun lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York, a short distance from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Throughout the pandemic and its aftermath, he took numerous walks along the waterfront. On one of those calm evenings, the mist came to engulf the city, turning its familiar architecture into something straight ahead. out of a sci-fi movie.
Shot on CineStill 800T film, Tosun’s mesmerizing photographs capture the Big Apple at a strange and critical moment in its history. During the pandemic, the city that never sleeps fell asleep. During this haunting, calm evening in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Tosun may have commemorated a moment of collective loss, darkness and anxiety. But at the same time, he also captured the spirit, hope and resilience of New York City, symbolized by thousands of twinkling lights in the distance. We asked him about the show.
The essential equipment of Tarik Tosun
Phoblographer: You are a software engineer by day. An analog process like film photography is not the most obvious passion for someone who creates robots and develops AI. What drew you to analog as opposed to digital photography?
Tarik Tosun: I first became interested in photography during my graduate studies. Until a few years ago, I only used digital cameras. Most of the credit for my love of cinema goes to my friend Rob, who is a fantastic film photographer. I was super dismissive at first. I thought cinema was just a silly hipster thing.
But Rob and I filmed a lot together, and ultimately I just couldn’t deny the fact that the film stills coming out of his decades-old range finder looked prettier to me than the ultra-sharp images produced by my high-tech. , Expensive DSLR, even after all the editing I was doing. I bought my first film camera, an Olympus XA, a little over two years ago, and since I put my first roll of Tri-X on it, I’ve been hooked. I still shoot a lot in digital, but for artistic reasons, I much prefer film.
Phoblographer: Why did you choose CineStill 800T for this particular series?
Tarik Tosun: I had seen a bunch of really interesting photos on Cinestill in r / analog, and wanted to give it a try. Cinestill 800T is a super weird film, and it can be a bit tricky to use. Due to the balance of tungsten, you really need to pay attention to the lighting conditions. If the lighting has blue tones, the photo may unexpectedly appear extremely blue. The deep blue tones in these photos were a bit of a happy accident, actually. The long exposure really caught the blue light of the twilight sky, and the film’s tungsten balance accentuated it.
Phoblographer: CineStill is a modified motion picture film. Were there specific films that helped inspire this body of work?
Tarik Tosun: I was told that these photos had a serious Blade runner vibe, and I can’t say I disagree.
Phoblographer: Did you create these photos in one evening or during multiple visits to Brooklyn Bridge Park?
Tarik Tosun: I took them all in one evening around 9:00 p.m. Honestly, I didn’t plan it too much. I was excited to try and take long exposures on Cinestill, something I had never done before, and the weather was finally warm enough to make the night shots enjoyable. I like to photograph on a tripod at night; it’s calm, and it forces me to slow down and be really thoughtful in composing the shot.
I wasn’t sure how these photos would come out, so this photoshoot was a bit of an experience. It turned out that I was lucky and everything went well. The interaction between the deep blue of twilight, the fog and the dominant blue of the film creates an atmosphere of another world, punctuated by the luminous halos around the lights.
Phoblographe: How long did these exhibitions last?
Tarik Tosun: The exposures were all about one to two seconds long. I love the way long exposures capture water and the way the reflected lights play on the surface. A one-second exposure will still capture some of the texture of waves and ripples on the surface, while longer exposures will smooth it out to a flat, iridescent surface.
Phoblographer: Was the park busy or quiet that night?
Tarik Tosun: As it was a weekday evening, it wasn’t too crowded. When I was shooting Brooklyn Bridge, there were a few guys shooting a clip of one of them rapping with the same view in the background. He was surprisingly a pretty good rapper, actually. I should have asked him his name!
Phoblographer: How has your relationship to the city evolved over the past year?
Tarik Tosun: I moved to New York in the fall of 2018, and before that I lived in Philadelphia for six years. I love both cities and have taken a lot of photos in both. New York is probably one of the most photographed places in the world, and for good reason. There is a vibrancy to life here that is hard to find elsewhere. We have the impression that with each block, at any time, something is happening.
My most vivid memory of the blockades was how empty the city was. For a little while, that dynamism was lacking. I remember walking through the heart of Soho on an empty sidewalk and seeing an ambulance hurtling down the empty street. Scary stuff.
Phoblographer: Were you in lockdown when you created these photos, or has most of it ended?
Tarik Tosun: These photos are from the first or second week of April. At that point, I wouldn’t really say I was in confinement. In fact, I received my second dose of the vaccine about a week in advance, so by the time I took these photos I was on the verge of achieving full immunity and emerging again in the world. As a result, I felt really optimistic. It was starting to look like spring, and the pandemic was finally starting to look like it might end. I think my optimistic attitude at the time played a role in my willingness to try something new in photography, and it turned out that I got some great shots.
Phoblographer: Did your feelings during the pandemic serve as creative fuel for your photography?
Tarik Tosun: I took a lot of pictures during the lockdown. My photo labs closed for a while, so I started developing C-41 at home. The photos that I myself developed during the pandemic have special emotional significance for me because they are intimately linked to the emotions of this heartbreaking year. They are a visual recording of what will almost certainly remain one of the strangest and most intense times of my life.
To learn more about Tarik Tosun, visit his website. You can follow on Instagram at tariktosun.