Time-lapse videos have become a popular project for many photographers and videographers. Many have showcased New York City and its never sleeping streets, but none have ventured beyond the buildings that tower towards the sky.
Photographer Cameron Michael does just that with his own time-lapse video titled “The Manhattan Project.” The video includes not just the landscape of the city, but captures the essence of those streets we walk each day, as well as outside and below them.
Watch for yourself and see.
Michael spent over five months working on the project, which was not an easy feat considering he had to carry around 120-130 pounds of gear with him as he trekked along every inch of Manhattan. What would possess someone to navigate their way through one of the most populous cities in the world with equipment weighing as much as a small person? Michael spoke with us about “The Manhattan Project” and what inspired him to take on the task.
“I am a photographer that is obsessed with science and philosophy. I have always loved the idea of time in a universe so grand. I love to think of the passage of time as something to be considered more carefully,” says Michael. “People go through their days not really appreciating all the time they have in this world and how you can never get that back. Time is beautiful, and so are the changes that it makes.”
Bumper to bumper traffic in New York City is a royal pain to those sitting in it, but from watching Michael’s video, it doesn’t seem so horrible. But the beauty of his finished project didn’t come easy. There were plenty of speed bumps along the way, from difficulty with building managers to walking the line between legal and illegal.
“So many places that I asked to be able to shoot from declined instantly, or wanted a lot of money for me to take a few hours with their building and shoot.” says Michael. Additionally, working with all his equipment crossed into the grey area in terms of legality. Fortunately for him, a little charm was all he needed to avoid any serious trouble. That is until he took his work underground.
“With the subway and underground segments, I had to be more, shall we say, ‘creative.'”
To outsiders, New York City can be a scary place. But while working on his project, Michael witnessed first-hand how kind the people of Manhattan can really be.
“There was one time when I was carrying my giant backpack of gear, which must have weighed over 120 pounds. I fell back on the subway and couldn’t get up, I felt like a turtle. Luckily, some nice people decided to help me up.”
Michael is currently working on a companion piece to “The Manhattan Project” and also looking to work on pieces on other cities, so be on the lookout. You can keep up with Cameron Michael and all of his projects by following the links below:
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