"New York streets are always busy, full of every type of character in the world. They’re full of life and right now the streets have no life on them."
A look into the unusual contrasts that have come into play in these unsettling times. Photographer and creative, Ede Dugdale, reimagines her past summer trip to NYC with her knowledge of the world now. We speak to her about why she chose to look back, her connection to this ever-lively city and how it has enlightened her time inside now.
What was the reason for the trip?
I went to shoot a music documentary with some artists.
Was this your first time in NYC? If yes, what were your first impressions? If no, what keeps you coming back?
It wasn’t my first time no, I have been a few times. I just love it - I even have the NY Yankees logo tatted on my ribs! I keep going back because it's my favourite city in the world. I just feel a deep connection with it. The energy, the atmosphere and the feel. I love just walking around Brooklyn taking in every part of the street. My parents have such a bond with NY and I think it's in my blood haha.
How would you describe the energy of NYC in the summer?
ALIVE! You just feel like anything is possible when you're there - good or bad. It's just sick.
Was there anyone you met on your trip that’s made a lasting impression?
The guy with all the jewellery and his girlfriend in the pink top. They sit on the bench I shot them on everyday and watch the world go by. Their energy was crazy, they didn’t stop laughing and smiling. I will never forget his warm smile and croaky voice.
During this strange and unsettling time, we are finding more and more of our community reminisce on their past travels. Why was travel important for you to use as a source of inspiration for your creative output?
I think it's natural when you can’t physically travel at the moment to revisit past travels with even more rose tinted glasses on than normal. I think all we really want to do right now is travel and be outside. I found exploring the concept of isolation through travel pictures inspiring. I just sat and wrote what I felt when I looked at my images, what I could see and what I wished I could do. Isolation makes some things like walking down a busy street seem so attractive. I hope that after this we will all appreciate some of the mundane parts of life we maybe didn’t really take notice of or viewed as a nuisance like hearing different conversations on a busy train as a positive.
Your Zine comments on the juxtaposition between isolation and freedom through the lens of travel. What drew you to this trip specifically?
I revisited this particular series as it is such a juxtaposition to the empty streets we are seeing outside right now and on the news. New York streets are always busy, full of every type of character in the world. They’re full of life and right now the streets have no life on them. I found my images of people playing outside particularly inspiring, the thought of a summer BBQ just seems so attractive right now! Looking at my images I could envision all the senses, the sounds, the sights, the smells and the tastes. Something we are all lacking right now.
Does having less freedom in isolation change your views on travel overall?
Yeah definitely. I am a massive travel fan anyway but even more so now. I think once all of this is over I will go away and travel for as long as possible. I never want to sit still again.
And finally, where do you hope to visit after this is all over?
SOUTH AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN. THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN!
Photography by: Ede Dugdale