William Meyers, who wrote about photography for the New York Sun, is one of those rarities — a critic who can also create. Some of his time he spends writing, eloquently and insightfully, about photography. Often, he straps on his Leica and prowls the city, producing museum-quality work of his own. This is attested by his new project “Civics”, which includes these photographs and scores of others. Meyers springs from a tradition of New York photography of civic matters that goes back to the pictures that illustrated How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis, a contributor to the Sun. in the 19th century. But Meyers says his real starting point is the Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, who brought out in the 1950s a volume of 83 photographs called The Americans. Meyers’s own copy is falling apart from wear. If Frank was an outsider with a penchant for the odd and occasionally bizarre, Meyers is a loving native whose own life is entwined with the polity of his subject matter. He has served on his community board and been honoured for the installation of elegant Bishop’s Crook street lights on Manhattan’s West 90th Street where he lives. How fitting that as he sets out with his camera he darts among shafts of light that he brought to his neighbourhood.
All photographs are from the “Civics”, “Alternative Manhattan” and “Music New York” projects. Meyers’s work can been seen at the Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York on request or at his website: