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Series 1: New York City

By PHILO COHEN Photography NATALIE YANG

When photographer Natalie Yang posted that she had some available slots to shoot in NYC, a new project popped up in my mind. I admire the way her lens lands on the subjects she chooses to capture, always strategically playing with light, taming colors. We came together to portray four young NYC based talented artists last June.

Weather prediction was bad for the two days that we planned on shooting, and I was nervous that everything would fall apart. I told the girls to come to my family house in Fort Greene so we could have the option of staying outside if it were to be sunny but also shoot inside if the rain showed up. As predicted, it rained all morning, but, as a miracle, when Nathalie rung my door bell, some rays of sun showed up. She spotted the warm lit spots of the house and started to capture each of us.

The next meeting was on the roof of my Bushwick appartement. We met up with Stazi and Eli and discussed under the sunlight for a couple hours. The way in which Natalie was efficient and professional while working with friends was phenomenal. I always have a hard time drawing the line between work and friendship, but she seemed to handle it as a fish swims in water. I am so glad I get to meet people who are willing to share their passion and work with what I have created. This is the first series of On Top, and we were definitely on top of our shit.

 ©Natalie Yang

©Natalie Yang

Elizabeth Wirija and Stazi Genicoff

I conversed with these two NYC based artists about how to build a strong identity while keeping yourself open to collaboration and change. A dialogue between me and two friends who believe in one another as an engine to their own creative process.

 ©Natalie Yang

©Natalie Yang

Peaches Harrison

A discussion with my talented friend who constantly reinvent and questions the needs of society. She told me about what pushes her to be a New York City maker, and instructed me on how to navigate patriarchal pressure in industrial design.

 ©Natalie Yang

©Natalie Yang

Alyssa McDoom

I asked Alyssa about her beginnings as a jazz vocalist, and she enlightened me on the gender roles in the field, parallel to her choices and needs' evolution. Conversation about how to stay true to yourself while being in conservatory, and working in a very sexist field.