Andreas Sterzing

Contemplating the City, New York - Black and White

When a young Andreas Sterzing arrived in New York City in the early 1980s, he landed in the middle of the explosion of creativity that would later be known as the East Village Art scene. With his camera and a sense of adventure, he captured iconic street scenes that show a pivotal moment in the city’s cultural history and launched his budding career as a professional photographer. This unique selection of black and white photographs spanning nearly two decades was hand printed by the artist himself at the time and has been produced exclusively for this NFT sale in collaboration with OrangeHare. Best known for his work covering Pier 34 and the East Village art scene and long-term personal projects, Andreas has had his photographs published in international magazine features and shown in museums and galleries worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, SeMA (Seoul Museum of Art), KW-Berlin (Kunst-Werke Berlin), Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Jeu de Paume in Paris and more.

Battery Park City, New York 1990

“This is looking east across Battery Park City to the classic NYC downtown skyline, a view soon after obscured by new high-rise buildings.”

Camera: Fuji GSW690, b/w infrared film

5th Avenue Steam, New York 1990s

“This was in winter, midtown on 5th Avenue, when the steam rising from the ground was at its most intense. The lines and patterns and the street furniture made a sharp contrast with the man crossing the street and the bus waiting for the lights to change, all of it engulfed in swirling steam.”

Camera: Mamiya 6

8BC – Alphabet City, New York 1985

“This is the south side of 8th Street between Avenues B and C just before most of the abandoned tenement buildings, some occupied by squatters, were demolished. The cinder-blocked storefronts facing the street were covered in elaborate graffiti and other street art. This had turned the desolate block into an outdoor art installation, which we passed every time on our way to the performance club 8BC, just behind me to the left.”

Taken with a large format 4×5 Sinar F camera, b/w sheet film.

Alphabet City – Pinhole, New York 1985

“This is the view from my apartment on 11th Street between Avenues A and B, looking north. To the left, next to the empty lot is the building known as the Rock, which at the time was one of the largest drug-selling operations in the city.”

Pinhole, captured with 4×5 inch b/w Polaroid type 55 negative sheet film.

Coney Island Boardwalk, Brooklyn 1980s

“A late summer’s day on the Coney Island boardwalk. The children look longingly at the beach while their father is eyeing the man on the right, who appears to be reading while looking into the distance.”

Camera: Nikon FM or FE2

Downtown view from Manhattan Bridge, New York 1990

“This is looking southwest from Canal Street near the entrance to Manhattan Bridge on a beautiful spring morning.”

Camera: Fuji GSW690, b/w infrared film

Empire State Building Transformed, New York undated

“This is a composite created from two photographs of the Empire State Building, transformed into an imaginary skyscraper with a shadowy and transparent outer shell.”

Printed from a composite negative made from two color slides, using a Polaprinter with Polaroid type 665 b/w negative film.

Hoboken Ferry (New York Times), New York 1993

“Three passengers on the Hoboken ferry, one of them resembling Elvis Presley, reading the NY Times. They are waiting to depart, dwarfed by the towers of the World Financial Center and the World Trade Center.”

Camera: Nikon FM or FE2

Hoboken Ferry, New York 1991

“This is on the Hoboken ferry on a chilly autumn day: the downtown skyline with the twin towers and the glistening New York harbor receding into dusk, and three passengers lost in their thoughts.”

Camera: Mamiya 6

Independence Day, Brooklyn 1980s

“This is at a 4th of July roof party in Brooklyn, perhaps Williamsburg. The sun was just setting when those old planes appeared out of nowhere, flying along the Manhattan skyline and up the East River.”

Camera: Nikon FM or FE2

Madison Square Park, New York 1980s

“This is a winter night scene in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. The fiber-based darkroom print was toned with gold toner and redeveloped, resulting in partial solarization and tonal shifts.”

Camera: Nikon FM or FE2

Midtown Prayer, New York 1980s

“A street scene somewhere in midtown Manhattan with rampant vegetation taking over an empty lot. A man has stopped to pray, perhaps facing Mecca. A tranquil moment, the scene is surrounded by traffic noise, people rushing by, and the eternal hustle and bustle of the city.”

Camera: Nikon FM or FE2

Midtown Skyline Beach, New York 1990s

“This is looking at the midtown skyline from the New Jersey shore, itself transformed into a sandy beach and ghost harbor.”

Printed from a composite negative made from two color slides, using a Polaprinter with Polaroid type 665 b/w negative film.

Sun Worshippers at Orchard Beach, the Bronx 1980s

“Sun worshippers basking in the midday sun at Orchard Beach in the Bronx. I came upon this scene while photographing neighborhoods and beaches in the outer boroughs for a magazine assignment.”

Camera: Nikon FM or FE2

The Zodiac, New York 1992

“Early morning commuters on the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan. The headline of the Daily News refers to the Zodiac Killer who was active in New York in the early 1990s.”

Camera: Nikon FM or FE2

Window and Flag, New York 1996

This is a moment of contemplation, looking out the window of an empty midtown office where I photographed an artist friend working. The juxtaposition of the dirty window with the American flag catching the beautiful light below and the majestic Empire State Building nearby, framed by the window itself, exposes the city in its raw and unique beauty.”

Camera: Mamiya 6