For the past seven years, Melissa O’Shaughnessy has been photographing regularly on the streets of New York City. «Perfect Strangers» is a series that witnesses the multifariousness of the urban jungle that is NYC.
Taking photographs in a city that offers more than it can hold means trying to capture the delight in the energy and chaos that the city serves up to the careful onlooker. To do it, you have to be interested in people, what drives them, what makes them behave the way they do in this world, in this particular time. Then, the photographer responds with pressing the shutter based on the collection of their life experiences, their interests. Nonetheless, photographs say something about how we perceive the world—both as being the maker of a picture, as well as the viewer.
Like most big cities around the world, the cloud of Covid-19 has turned New York into a quieter shadow of its former self. The hope is that «Perfect Strangers» will stand as a reminder of what this great city once was and what it might be again when the pandemic has receded into our collective memories.
Melissa O’Shaughnessy is an American photographer based in New York City. She studied at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota—she holds a degree in journalism. She became interested in photography later in life, even though her father was an amateur photographer whose life centred around taking a lot of pictures of his family. A camera was always around the home, but the interest in it grew when she realised she could use photography as a means to be more and passionately present in the world.
In the last years, she became a member of UP, an international collective of 27 photographers. Her first book, “Perfect Strangers: New York City Street Photographs” was published by Aperture in October, 2020.