Ner Beck, a long time Upper West Sider, is exhibiting over 50 photographs at the Riverside Branch of the New York Public Library in the Lincoln Center area. As a graphic artist and designer, he has had a lifelong interest in photographing overlooked street art on his daily walks on the West Side and in other neighborhoods throughout the city. Besides his fascination with face-finding and found art there are also photos on display of colorful prism-like reflections on windows, some examples of strange street trees and unusual random arrangements of objects on street vendor tables and thrift shops.
Ner draws his inspiration from various sources. “It might be a glowing color on an overcast rainy day, two circles that become eyes that speak to you, or a juxtaposition of elements that make a strange or funny situation at that moment. An image must stop me in my tracks and tell me an unique story that I have never heard before. It also should convey strong emotions such as humor, sadness, fear, abandonment or something expressing itself in a powerful personal way. Many of my photographs contain faces, which have always fascinated me because they can express feelings that everyone can relate to in a visceral way. Mask-like faces have always had an important historical significance and commanded everyone’s attention throughout time. Face forms can be compelling to us in the same way a child loves their stuffed animals or when an adult looks into the face of a family member or their pet. In our city, as most New Yorkers hurriedly target their destinations they tend to aim themselves straight ahead, frequently missing these faces, creatures, mini-environments, architectural details, holiday characters and unintended visual statements waiting to be noticed and appreciated. So the next time you travel on foot, try walking a little slower, relaxing and glancing obliquely. Many of these little gems have always been there, some are permanent and others disappear overnight. Look for them, they are always present, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed