When viewing the work of Jonathan Higbee, I am reminded of the metaphor of theater as applied to street photography. Whichever street corner, subway station, beachfront, or billboard Higbee selects as the tableau, it feels like a magnificent theater with a diverse cast of characters performing in an unscripted play on an ever-changing stage. As individuals interact with one another in these tightly-packed public spaces, occasionally extraordinary situations unfold that are unexpected, mysterious, humorous or poignant. A strange or wonderful juxtaposition may materialize and then vanish in a split-second. Such ephemeral events are often overlooked or quickly forgotten. Higbee captures these fleeting moments as evocative, richly-layered images that allow each viewer to enjoy the sense of wit and painstaking patience Higbee undertakes.
It is somewhat unappreciative to say his images are merely serendipity, or lucky happenstance. Jonathan Higbee spent years meticulously documenting these fleeting juxtapositions on the streets of New York. The intersections of pedestrians, street signs, billboards, and more take on new meaning and life: as a dancer on a stage of trash, graffiti unfurling from a backpack, or even a giant casually walking the streets of the city. Each photograph captures the wit, joy, and surrealism of everyday life in a sometimes chaotic world. The resulting images are a visual language of their own; an expression that is equivalent to the final situation captured. The sum is greater than its parts. The craft and attention required to make this body of work should prompt us to pause and reflect on how magical these instances truly are.
Coincidences by Jonathan Higbee
Foreword by Dustin Lance Black and an afterword by Jonathan Higbee Hardcover
160 pages, 125 images
10 inches x 8.85 inches
Anthology Editions is an independent book publisher based in Brooklyn, New York. anthologyeditions.com
Jonathan Higbee will be in discussion with photographer Harvey Stein at Rizzoli Bookstore, New York on December 11, 2019 at 6pm. See their website for information: https://www.rizzolibookstore.com/events
Jonathan Higbee is a New York-based photographer who is often noted for his street photography, but his portfolio also includes fine art and commercial work. His photos have been exhibited all over the world and have been featured in numerous publications such as Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and Buzzfeed. His unique vision has amassed a large following on social media, including a major presence for his Coincidences series on Instagram. He was awarded the World Street Photography grand prize in 2015, a LensCulture Street Photography Award in 2016, and most recently was a 2018 Hasselblad Masters finalist.
Dustin Lance Black is an American screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and LGBT rights activist. He has won a Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for the 2008 film, Milk. Black is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights and writer of 8, a staged reenactment of the federal trial that led to a federal court’s overturn of California’s Proposition 8.
Also published on Medium.