Native New Yorker, Randy Le Moine, knows a thing or two about photographing New York cityscapes; he’s been doing it for three decades. From scouting locations for weeks to negotiating access to prime views, Le Moine’s no fear attitude even has him confronting his own fear of heights. Able to imagine new vantage points of familiar locales both while shooting and in digital post-production, creativity is a driving force in his vision. Read on to find out more about Randy Le Moine.
Architectural photography is one of your main genres. Do you have a background in architecture? How did you become interested in it?
I haven’t been trained in architecture in the traditional sense but growing up in one of the most popular cities in the world might have had something to do with it. As a kid, I loved building things. From small cities with Legos to alien bases in 3D, creating things from my imagination was always a passion of mine. Architecture came into the picture simply because it was easily accessible and in abundance in New York. I was able to become familiar with a location with little monetary investment and learn about its unique vantage points. Often times, I would scout a location for months and work with a building’s security team to gain access to their rooftops.
Bridges seem to be a recurring theme in your photographic work. What is it about bridges that capture your imagination?
Bridges are great subjects. You can walk over, under or (in some cases) on them to capture a composition. I am naturally afraid of heights, so part of the draw is to push myself out of my comfort zone to capture aerial pictures of New York from bridges. I find myself walking Manhattan Bridge the most as it rarely receives the amount of visitors that Brooklyn Bridge does and has some interesting views of Chinatown’s
Many of the images in your portfolio on Your Art Gallery feature urban architectural scenes, however there are a few that were shot in Iceland. What similarities and differences do you find between shooting in a natural landscape like Iceland versus a dense city like New York?
Iceland and New York are amazing places to shoot photography. If I had to point out a key difference, it would be that one is a sprawling country full of beautiful greenery, natural waterfalls and apparently trolls. The other is a crowded metropolis, full of tourists, popular landmarks and a melting pot of cultures. Given these differences, how I decide to photograph each can vary greatly since my vision for one may be fast paced
and bustling while the other serene and reflective. Ironically, for both places my camera technique never changes. I rarely modify the way I physically shoot my images as the composition, lighting and focus are universal.
Can you tell us a bit about your process? What camera do you use? Do you use Lightroom, Photoshop or any other digital darkroom techniques?
Currently, I use a Nikon D800 with Nikon 14-24 2.8, 24-70 2.8 and Sigma 150mm Macro lens. I also use a Hasselblad 500c/m camera on occasion with Kodak TMAX 120 film. When processing my images, I use a combination of software packages such as Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom and Google’s Nik Collection. Luminosity masks, image stacking and panoramic stitching have also worked their way into my workflow.
Your art was recently featured in Your Art Gallery’s booth at Art Expo 2017. Was that your first art fair? What was that experience like?
I love attending art fairs, but I have never officially had my work shown until the Art Expo. The experience was a game changer for me as it allowed me to display my work with others in a public venue. Needless to say, the staff at Your Art Gallery was amazing and provided some great insight on boosting my social presence and enriching my Your Art Gallery online profile.
Lastly, you seem to have a love affair with New York City. You’ve documented it since the 1990s. In what ways has the city changed for you photographically?
Sadly, I feel New York City has lost a bit of its edge. In the 1990s, certain areas like Times Square and the subway had more character. Now the city has a different vibe. It’s cleaner, safer and all about commercial advertisement. I still love shooting New York but it’s definitely changed…perhaps for the better.