Wandering the streets of New York


No two days are the same: the streets of New York are a haven for street photographers like Manuel Peña. Curious and willing to try new possibilities, he ventures into the urban jungle every day, experimenting with light, shadows and reflections, creating unique cinematic images.

How did you get into photography?
I got into photography as a way to keep myself busy during my free time at work. I always liked looking at pictures as a child and it always interested me.

Your images look very cinematic. What are the biggest influences on your photography?
I would have to say that movies and video games play a big role in how I see things. It’s really crazy how the medium has evolved in the last 10 years. I am also inspired by contemporary photography and greats like Vivian Maier, Saul Leiter and Alex Webb to name a few.

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Where did you take your photos?
I can’t travel as much as I’d like, but New York City is where I mainly do my images. There’s a lot of ground to cover here. Definitely a great place for photography.

Do you have favorite places when you wander down the street?
I would say that Chinatown, mid-town and the financial district are my frequent stops in the city. There is always something going on, and no day is the same.

In general, what catches your attention?
In general, what triggers me are colors, gestures and any emotional interaction between people.

How do you find the decisive moment to shoot? Any advice?
I’m not sure I know when the breaking point is happening, but mostly I’m reacting to what I’m feeling. I almost always make a film because I am forced to. The only advice I would offer is don’t hesitate if you feel it.

What role does color play for you and what is more important to you: composition or color?
Color is very important to me. It is what attracts me to the scenes; but I would say that composition can always help. I try not to think about it too much. It just feels natural to me at this point.

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What cameras are you using and why? Do you have a favorite camera for street photography?
I am currently using the Leica M10-R and the Leica Q2. They are really compact and discreet. There are no distractions with the menus, and shutter speed and aperture are available without turning on the camera, which is very useful. Although the Q introduced me to the Leica system, the M has to be my favourite. There is simply nothing simpler than that. I feel completely immersed in the process of taking photos and find it satisfying and fun to use.

What do you like most about street photography?
What I like the most is the unexpected nature of it. Every day is new and it is fun to walk into the unknown, regarding what is to be created.

Manuel Penahe is a self-taught photographer from New York. He developed a passion for photography in 2015. Since then he has gone on to capture everyday moments on the streets of New York. His main objective is to tell stories using light, shadow, composition and color. His only rule is: shoot everything that interests you and the pieces will fit | $$ |no. Discover more about his photography in hiswebsiteandInstagram Page.

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PostingWandering the streets of New Yorkfirst appeared inThe Leica Camera Blog.

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