Viewfinder | Shawn Hoke

Shawn Hoke on the visual power of perspective.

70 Pine Street

“So much of photography is about perspective. You can usually improve an average shot by moving your feet; get closer, get lower, look up, look down, do something different.”

Cone Fit for a King

Cone fit for a king

“Photography is often simply just being in the moment and paying attention. I was at Ray’s Candy Store one night and saw this gentleman having a serious conversation and an ice cream cone. I didn’t want to ruin the moment by having him turn to me, so I shot quickly and moved on.”

Roy, Mars Bar

Mars Bar

“This remains one of my favorite EV images. I was walking south on Second Avenue one morning and noticed Mars Bar fixture Roy reading the paper. He’s relaxed and peaceful, while behind him the Mars Bar wall is a riot of color and text. Unfortunately Roy passed away last summer.”

Keys Sign

Keys, 2nd Avenue, East Village

“The East Village has so many great signs. For this one, I squatted down to take this at a better angle. The Kodak Portra Neutral Color film is perfect in this instance.”

Jim Joe, Woman

Jim Joe, Lower East Side

“For someone who photographs people so much, I’m usually only interested in them as decoration for a wall or storefront. I’m attracted by the interaction of people and the city.”

Ideal Hosiery Couple

Ideal Hosiery Facade

“Same thing here: I wanted to capture this couple walking by a favorite LES storefront, so I waited just long enough to get the guy on the left in focus before the couple got too far across the frame.”

Wet Sidewalk, Girl with Umbrella

Wet and Red, Kenmare Street

“This photo is all about imposing your will and making the camera and film do what you envision. The wet pavement and glare from the red lights made the perfect setting for something, but I waited to see what that would be. It was this girl with an umbrella, but I focused on the garage door instead, which gave the approaching figure an out of focus, dream-like quality.”

Kate Shivering

Kate in Lower East Side

“It’s very difficult to catch my wife off guard. We were at a dark intersection waiting for the light and I set the aperture as wide as possible, lifted the viewfinder to my eye, steadied, and pressed the shutter quickly. I like the movement of her hand on her arm.”

I’m So Tall

I'M SO TALL on the Bowery

“Sometimes, you just have to wait. This was a difficult shot and not entirely successful. I wanted to photograph the ‘I’m So Tall’ graffiti. I was shooting into the sun on a bleak winter day at about noon, the worst time of day for good light. My camera was loaded with B&W film, so I knew the sky would be a bland, washed-out white. I was about to give up when I saw this gentleman walking towards me. He makes the picture.”

Wet Basketball Court

Wet Basketball Court, Nolita

“Nothing special about this shot, other than being attracted by the three black squares and the wet court.”

70 Pine Street

70 Pine Street

“Always be aware of how lines intersect or lead the eye.”

Shawn Hoke is a community contributor to The Local East Village. His work can also be viewed at his Web site,