Unlike, say, Paris, appreciating New York from an aesthetic point of view is a somewhat more complex matter. But capturing the essence of both the grit and glory – and everything in between – was actually the muse for Richard Koek’s striking new book New York, New York, A Visual Hymn (from Lannoo Publishers). Through his lens, the notable photographer takes you on a multi-dimensional and very up-to-date journey (most of the photos were taken in 2017) through architecture and street life, the majesty and the minutiae, encouraging viewers to form their own Gotham narrative.
A New York transplant – from Amsterdam, arguably the city’s “fountainhead” – Koek’s visual perspective of NYC’s iconic landmarks, street art, subway stations, alleys and residents explores and celebrates the dichotomy between struggle and success. Despite challenges and continual change, he seems to view his adopted home as an inspiration for personal happiness, where everyone can ultimately become the best – or worst – version of themselves.
“The wonderful thing about my book,” enthuses Koek, “is that it is such a product of pure love for this city. And the best images are images that keep on telling me new stories.”
He is uniquely suited to the task. Pursuing his passion for photography, Koek gave up his life as a tax lawyer when he moved across the Atlantic. He has since shot for publications including The New York Times and Interview magazine, and has exhibited at Photoville festival in NYC and Fotofestival Naarden in The Netherlands.
The book is available for preorder now, and will hit shelves April 20.