When I moved to New York City, one of the first things I noticed was the sheer number of psychics in the city. Everywhere you turned there was an opportunity to get a $10 reading. How did they all stay in business in a city with horrifyingly high rent prices? Was this piece of the NYC landscape, like so many others, doomed to fade away? And, more importantly, where did they get those wonderful signs?
I’ve spent the past year photographing the exteriors of these businesses entirely on film. It started out as a coincidence, because my passion for film photography grew immensely in 2012, but it quickly became a core tenet of the project. An analogue process felt naturally more intuitive and more capable of capturing the borderlands of perception. There is nothing psychic about digital methods.
Although I used a variety of films for this project, most of it was captured using The Impossible Project’s instant film for Polaroid cameras. I love my SX-70 and the instant gratification it provides, but I truly love how this particular medium adds its own voice to a photograph. Whether it’s PX or PZ, black and white or color, old generation expired film or the latest Color Protection Film, these materials play their own role in the final image. This extra thing that becomes a part of the work that I don’t control is… extrasensory!
The kind people at the Impossible Project Space NYC asked me to kick off their new (212) Impossibles showcase with Psychic NYC. I’ll be showing 15 original photographs shot on their film starting tonight, January 17, 2013. The show runs for roughly one month.
Psychic NYC at The Impossible Project Space NYC
425 Broadway, 5th floor, NY 10013
January 17, 2013 – mid-February 2013
Monday – Friday 11:00am to 7:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 12:00pm to 6:00pm
If you want to see every shot in this project that I’ve scanned thus far, check out my Psychic NYC set on Flickr. It’s an ongoing project, but I’m hoping to wrap most of it up later this year so that I can start planning for a print publication. And, of course, if you see any great psychic exteriors in NYC that I missed, please get in touch. I’m always looking for more. Thanks!
Update: You can read a brief interview with me on The Impossible Project’s blog here: http://blog.the-impossible-project.com/artist-in-residence-dave-knapik