I have always loved New York by night. It’s the time of day when the city is at its most mysterious, lights spilling out of windows and doorways at oblique angles, headlights piercing the darkness, hints of movement and connection among figures silhouetted behind office and apartment-house windows.
My second-most favorite views of the city are during thunderstorms or under tempestuous clouds, when the skyline looks like a string of lightning rods for extraterrestrial warfare (500 years ago, the Native Americans who roamed this area probably thought the gods were duking it out.)
In his rambles around the city, Ed Grant has managed to capture many aspects of New York, but I’ve chosen the two that appeal to me most. For more than a decade, he’s been keeping a daily journal, taking one photograph per diem and posting it to Tumblr and Instagram. He says he has no interest in photographing people, but New York in its infinite moods always provides something to catch his eye.
If you study his website or follow the artist on social media, you know that Grant is primarily an abstract painter in the loose and lyrical tradition of the Color Field pioneers of the 1950s and ‘60s. At first blush, the photos and canvases seem to have nothing to do with each other, but I think they’re both propelled by a sensibility that gravitates toward spontaneity, high drama, and chance meetings with the sublime. Ann Landi
Top: Ed Grant, August 6, 2020, archival pigment print on photo luster paper, 13 by 19 inches