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Developing from a Negative

Photo: Taelar Pollmann ⋅ The Sentry

Manhattan’s the other name

I have such a love / hate relationship with New York, New York. Personally, I wish it was still named New Amsterdam but that is neither here nor there. I grew up in a small town in the middle of this massive country, far away from the city that enslaved my heart in the dirty underbelly festering beneath the crowded streets.

I was nineteen in 2013 when I first ventured out east to New York. That trip lasted less than a week, I saw Colorado native Sierra Boggess in The Phantom of the Opera and stayed in a seedy hotel with a communal bathroom shared by the floor. Instead of seeing the city itself I opted to see Phantom two more times.

In 2016 I returned with my partner to see John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. This was my most touristy trip due to the single fact we stayed in Times Square. Take it from me kids: don’t stay in Times Square. Despite visiting the top of the Rockefeller Center, the same building that Charles Ebbets or Thomas Kelley shot one of my favorite photographs, ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper,’ the humidity was outrageous to the point I declared we wouldn’t return to New York for at least five years.

It was only a little over a year later my partner and I were once again seated on an airplane flying back to, ‘the city so nice they named it twice.’ This time I was photographing John Owen-Jones’ first solo concert in the United States at 54 Below. We stayed in Queens and had a completely different experience than the year prior. During this trip I was introduced to the immersive art performance show, Sleep No More, and started to realize why this city has held such regard over the years.

This past summer we once again flew roughly four hours to New York in order to see a friend in the off-Broadway show, Octet. Due to completing all the tourist-based activities during our past trips we had time to simply be in the city and experience it like a true New Yorker would. To shorten a long story, let’s just say I am now considering how much effort it would take to transfer to a school there and complete my degree rquirements.

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