One of the wonderful things about moving to New York has been how generously our friends and family are with their New York contacts. There are many people we haven't had the chance to meet up with but we're very lucky to have enjoyed the company of many wonderful people thanks to our friends and family arranging play dates. It’s like a vetting process. Not only has the new person been approved of BUT you, yourself, have been vetted and the match deemed suitable. So when one of my besties, Kiz, put me in contact with Dara I already knew that I’d like her.
Dara is a choreographer, dancer, actress and singer (an all-round talented human being) and is amongst those who were drawn to NYC by the lights of Broadway, and despite my inability to sniff out the correct route to the shooting location I had in mind, was such a pleasure to photograph.
Why did you choose New York over anywhere else?
I think I've always been a city girl at heart. Growing up in suburban PA was amazing, but with my chosen career path and longing for excitement, I think New York just made sense!
What is it like living and working in New York?
It's fast-paced, exciting, and also exhausting! You're always surrounded by people who are as passionate as you are which is super inspiring, and there are always things to do. Sometimes I just want to tell the city to be quiet and give me space, and other times I'm fascinated with how amazing this city can be.
Where is your favourite place in the city?
This question is actually pretty hard to answer for me! I have favourite spots that bring back happy memories and favourite restaurants, but if I haaaaad to choose, I'd say my favourite spot is at Riverside Park, specifically at sunset. It's right on the Hudson River and it's open and you can see such glorious sunsets!
Any tips for people planning to move to Manhattan?
Prepare to walk faster. It's one of my biggest pet peeves when people walk super slow in this city. We all have places to be!
What makes a true New Yorker? and can an outsider ever earn the title New Yorker?
In my opinion, a true New Yorker is passionate yet jaded, rude yet full of warmth, and chock full of coffee. You don't come to NYC to sit around and wait for things to happen, you get up and go! I think you can earn the title. I've been here 6 years and I think I'm very close to earning that title, so it takes time, but it's not impossible!
Thanks so much Dara for this shoot, I think it is one that taught me a lot photographically. I forgot to adjust my white balance (WB) in the different locations (such a rookie mistake) so I had a really tough time with the edit because I spent so much time trying to get the colours to match the beautiful sunshine we had that day. I learned a lot:
1. I don't think I'll be making that mistake in a hurry. ALWAYS ADJUST YOUR WB FOR EACH NEW LOCATION (this has a caveat though, because sometimes, the WB will take away the beautiful glow of golden hour...)
2. I have to learn when to leave something alone. I'm still not 100% with the edit, but I am extremely happy with my technical growth.
3. From the depths of the most difficult edit I've had to do, I found my all time favorite portrait (so far).