For over a decade, photographer Jonathan Higbee has walked the streets of New York with a camera in-hand, spotting extraordinary juxtapositions and unusual moments when the world aligns for a split second in front of his lens. At times he manages to completely erase the boundaries between manufactured imagery found in billboards or signage that pollute the city streets and captures anonymous passersby who seem to live in an alternate reality.
“I’ve been a travel photographer and writer for a national magazine since 2009, a fortunate amalgam of my passion for exploration and telling stories. I moved to New York the following year and soon after decided to take my work camera out on the streets to capture what I noticed, what I loved about New York. I haven’t been able to leave the apartment with out the camera ever since; I was instantly hooked.”
Jonathan Higbee (1981) was born and raised in Northwestern Missouri but has called New York home for a decade. He began his career as an editorial assistant for Instinct Magazine, where he quickly found his niche as a travel correspondent, producing copy and photography for extensive international travel features. His love for photography evolved when he moved to New York and began making images of the streets.
His street photography has won multiple awards, including the 2015 World Street Photography grand prize, a LensCulture 2016 Street Photography Award, and more. He has exhibited across the world including at shows in New York, Hamburg and Paris. He’s published regularly in print and online, with recent features in Huffington Post, GUP Magazine, Instinct Magazine, Fotopolis, Peta Pixel, the Phoblographer and more.
“My approach to street photography is rather conceptual. It works for me. I go out for long walks in the city with a compact 35mm or Leica Q and scout for locations. If I spot a great street portrait or the perfect harmony of color and light I’ll be ready to take a shot, but the main mission is to find the perfect environment that works with my vision of New York. The “perfect environments” that appeal to me most are backdrops with a lot of graphic, aesthetic and narrative potential. After a location is scouted I return with a more powerful camera (usually sony a7r2 or analog Hasselblad), and simply wait — up to a few hours a day for a week — for the “decisive moment.””
This uncanny talent for observation has made the Missouri-born photographer a rising name in street photography where he won the World Street Photography grand prize in 2015 and a LensCulture 2016 Street Photography Award. Higbee’s work has been exhibited in group shows around the world and his photos were recently included in World Street Photography 4. You can follow more of his photography on Instagram.