This is the seventh of ten interviews that Laura has completed with photographers involved with the incredible 24HourProject, please see her introduction article here. We have put each interview into a separate article so that it’s easier for you to navigate, they can all be found under Laura’s Column StreetVIEW here.
This one is with Sheldon Serkin…
‘10.05 am in NYC ‘The Beales’ – ©Sheldon Serkin
What is your name, both real and Instagram ?
Sheldon Serkin, on Instagram @shelserkin
Was this the first time you participated in this exciting 24 hour project, or have you taken part in previous years as well?
This was my third year participating in the project. I was invited by Renzo Grande to participate the inaugural year.
What city where you able to document?
I documented New York City.
What inspired you, or drove you to take part in this project, i mean walking around 24 hours is not for the faint hearted!
Firstly, I love any opportunity to shoot, and I also loved the challenge of posting a photo an hour for 24 hours. I take it very seriously! It keeps you going, looking for that next shot to post. The first year I shot alone for the full 24 hours; last year I shot in a group of 4, which was much more fun. This year I looked forward to shooting with a few other participants again.
Did you plan where to go or did you have an idea what you wanted to document, or did you just let fate decide as you wandered through the streets?
This year I had locations in mind that I wanted to go to but didn’t think it possible. When I got together with the two shooters I was to spend the 24 hours with (@icstreets_ny and @asf_nyc, great shooters both), they shared their general plan and it aligned with a lot of what I wished I thought possible: getting out to Coney Island, shooting in areas other than the same ones as last year. We did improvise for stretches at a time, but the route we ended up with served us very well.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the 24 hours?
I have a thing about not having enough battery power. I wanted to spend as little time as possible in various Starbucks charging my phone, so I loaded up with Mophie cases and borrowed my son’s iphone for the day. I’m good at putting basic needs such as food, drink and bathrooms aside, so I really feel that the biggest challenge was making sure I had a shot each hour that I really liked, that had something special.
‘6.00 am in NYC – ‘The Omega Man’ – ©Sheldon Serkin
Do you feel like the time pressure was beneficial to your creativity, or did it just make you nervous and diminish the quality of your images slightly?
The time pressure was definitely beneficial to my creativity. It really pushes me to leave hesitancy and discreetness behind when shooting subjects, which almost always results in a better image.
Did you develop a work flow for every hour in order to manage uploading your next image in time?
I tried to hold off posting as long as possible each hour even if I had something good, just in case I got something better. That being said, i didn’t always end up posting the best shot from each hour. I shot so much that I would forget what I had! I have a few instances of that this year. I also do my best to minimize processing, as it’s a time and battery killer when I have neither time nor battery power.
Be honest, did you by any chance cheat a little by processing a few pictures in advance in order to rest a bit?
Let me preface my answer by saying that I did not cheat in any way the first two years. This year, once, and I regret it. The 18th hour (five to six PM) was a low point for me. I had been simultaneously shooting in Union Square and trying to find a place to charge enough to carry me through the final 6 hours. Looking back, I got a few good shots, but they didn’t register with me at the time. With two minutes left in the hour, I posted something from 3 hours earlier. Which was dumb. If I had sat down and really looked at what I had, I could easily have found something postable. I’m sorry, @24hourproject!!
Did you follow the IG feed of other excellent photographers taking part in the competition? You know, to check on your “competition”!
I took quick looks at what people were posting when I would post. I loved to see the other work being posted simultaneously; It really gives the project a sense of a worldwide community, that there are people all over the world shooting and posting with the same intent. Crazy anxious about battery power forced me to minimize really digging into feeds until the next day. I am amazed at the sheer amount of really great work done this year, and feel no sense of “competition” from them in any way. We are all participants and equals.
‘4.11 am NYC ‘Maxie’ – ©Sheldon Serkin
What was your secret to staying up so long? Energy drinks? Coffees? Pure determination? Fruit smoothies perhaps?
Three things: being in the company of @icstreets_ny and @asf_nyc. They were great partners in crime. 2) The drive to get the next shot, which you just know if you keep moving and looking, will be great. 3) The encouragement of family, friends and co/participants, who would send me texts, messages and comments on my pictures throughout the day