Viewfinder | Imperfect Contrast

Phoenix Eisenberg on capturing the complexity of limitations.

15. Union Square-Waiting 3 2009

“I want to give people a reason to be interested in the things they would normally dismiss– by making the unattractive look beautiful, the crazed look understandable, or the pristine seem imperfect. I want people to understand that it is the imperfections in our lives that make us so interesting.”


“This photo is of three girls talking in a basement. The conversation was light-hearted and simple, but the lighting made them look complex and cruel.”

05. Eviction 2008

“This man was my neighbor. He had been evicted and had to leave his home the following day.”


“I took this photo in Union Square during the annual pillow fight. Out of all the photos I had of people being smacked with pillows, feathers flying, and photographers running around trying to get a good angle, I found this moment the most interesting. This moment that I knew not a single other photographer would be watching– a woman beautifully standing in the park.”


“This man was walking slowly in front of me for a block or so. I was shocked by the complexity of everything around me– this woman, the man staring, the old man walking, the reflection, and the realization that it was just a normal day and scene in the city.”

24. Union Square-Waiting 4 2009

“I took this in Union Square. Sometimes you see people on the street, and they just seem like characters in a movie. This was one of them– a lost fictional character in Union Square.”

14. NYC Fade 2008

“The city is full of leftovers– pieces of a city 40 years ago that still come through. It takes millions of years for a fossil to form, but in the city it takes no more than 40.”

Phoenix Eisenberg is a local contributor. His work can be seen here.