Inside The New Yorker's Photo Department

Posted by David Ozanich — 16 Mar 2011

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Elisabeth Biondi was the visuals editor at the New Yorker for nearly 15 years. Now that she's moving on, the magazine's photo department asked a handful of photographers to share a memorable shot on which they worked with her. The photo of the George Washington Bridge above is by Robert Polidori and was featured in the March 26th, 2001 issue. An excerpt from his reminisces:

The execution of this photograph permanently changed my working methodology. To be honest, the subject--a temporary lighting treatment on the George Washington Bridge--is something I would never have contemplated shooting on my own. Probably sensing this, Elisabeth got me involved in a conversation in which we both described our mental projections of what the resulting photograph should look like. By the end of our office session I had actually penciled in a crude drawing of the shot that I was to seek.


Prior to this assignment, my modus operandi had been quite rudimentary (or at least monopolar). Setting up the camera implied my request for the world to exteriorize and reveal its nature. It was then simply left up for me to know when and how to catch it. I was now asked, however, to actually solicit and implore the world to present a specific facet of its nature that we had already chosen for it to show for us. Being essentially a phenomenologist, I could not help but harbor the secret fear that the world would simply not want to comply with our imposition, just to prove to us who was really boss.

See the other photos and read the rest of Polidori's story about shooting the bridge here.

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