Gemma Lacey: This shoot is all about New York, can you describe your relationship with the city?
Pamela Love: New York is not a simple thing to reckon with. It’s not like New York is hard, and then you get used to it and then you thrive in it. I think you can thrive in it at certain points and then, two years later, have the same energy be really hard for you. Then a year after that, you need that energy again. I don’t think New York is one consistent thing for me, and I think that as I’m growing, and changing my needs for certain things change. So there are certain times where I feel like “I can’t take this- I have to be somewhere else”. I get a feeling that we have to live somewhere where we have a lot of land and I can have a garden and silence at night. Then there’s other times where I’m like “I can’t do that”, I need the energy of New York and I need public transit, I need the Lower East Side and I need the art, I need the people. You know what I mean? I think you go through these cycles, but once you’ve lived in New York for any extended period of time, really, New York’s in your blood. You become a New Yorker and it becomes you.
GL: What’s one of the most interesting sensations about New York?
PL: I think it’s that realization that if you are in New York you are not ever alone, ever. The way we live, always so close to other people, it can be frustrating but at the same time it’s also kind of amazing because you’re really never alone. If you can get past the sense of imposition, there’s something wonderful about that. There’s this pulsating energy that runs through the city fueled by the comings and goings of millions of feet, the beating of millions of hearts. It’s an organism and you are a part of it. You are a cell or maybe a mitochondria in a cell or something, an autonomous being but a part of a whole . There’s something very beautiful about that, and there’s also something that can be maddening about that, depending on the state, you’re in.
GL: How would you describe that feeling?
PL: It’s a sense or a realization that you’re never in control, you can’t be, can’t be in control because something bigger is in control. The city is in charge.
GL: What drew you to the locations in our shoot, are those places that represent New York for you?
PL: I think for me it was really about showing the beautiful grittiness of New York and these things that have stuck around, like that Chinese restaurant has been there for so long. It’s been there for, like, 30 years. It’s nothing particularly special, but it’s been there forever, and it will be there tomorrow, and it will survive. Also it’s about showing the beautiful decay of New York. For me as I grow up, I find myself drawn to things that are pristine, perfect looking- like a West Elm catalog or something from Restoration Hardware. Sure it’s nice to have everything be clean and beautiful and picture perfect, -but what drove me to New York in the first place? The mess, the chaos, the imperfection. So I think for me this shoot was an exploration in remembering how beautiful all of that is. Especially now, we have come to this place, you know, if you look on Instagram, or graphic design, interior design etc. It’s like everything kind of looks the same- the aesthetic is homogenized and clean. New York can’t be that, because New York is not one vision, it’s the accumulated vision of every one who lives there now and every one who’s lived and built and modified it for hundreds of years… more even. There’s this kind of visual dialogue that’s been happening that’s very far from what New York is and it’s been going on for a while, and I appreciate a lot of it and I love a lot of it. But I wanted to embrace what is so special about New York, and also remember that it’s so beautiful. It’s perfect just as it is.