Jerry Business: Little Toys, Big World – SmugMug Films

This ones gonna be tough but I’m gonna set up this shot of a flea market scene outside the Brooklyn Flea Market. I always think perception is reality so whatever it is that you’re looking at, to you and how you feel, that is reality. And I think toys become a miniature reality for that moment in time. For me it’s just the possibilities of what you can do and create with them and it’s that creative open mind that you have as a kid when you’re exposed to toys. As you get older you think that that’s childish but it’s really … it’s really the key to life that kind of creativity. [Laughter] But I try not to take myself too seriously. So I’m out here in New York for work and I knew I’d have one day free so I grabbed a bunch of stuff from home and we’re gonna see how many shots
I can get in a single day. We’ve got a couple of things that key to places and the rest of them is more like free form jazz kind of connecting dots as we go and figure out where something makes sense. I’m Jerry Business. I’m a guerrilla street toy photographer. We’re at Grand Central and I’m looking for places to shoot this little guy who is gonna predict the end of the world while all this hustle and bustle is going on. So let’s figure out where this is going to work. I’m waiting for that one moment when everybody clears. Which always happens. I Love New York because it’s full of iconic places that everybody in the world can relate to. So whether you’ve been here or not, you already have a mental map of it. And that’s what’s so great about New York. So I love shooting here. Now we’re gonna head to Times Square. We’re gonna shoot the Naked Cowboy. You know I used the same thing that’s in your grandma’s purse. I use an iPhone because it gives me that anonymity. So you can get these candid photos or you can operate inside of society without people really noticing that you’re capturing moments. There’s some here that I think could work. “Yes.” So about five years ago, you know, I had this epiphany to shoot this Star Wars toy. A dewback… a Star Wars’ ‘dewback’ that I had since I was a little kid and that was the first thing I ever shot. I don’t know how many toys I have at this point, uh 8000 maybe, I’d guess? I’ve always had a little collection of toys and then when I started introducing photography into it, it really expanded my thinking about toys and that opened up a whole other world to me. Since then, I’ve just gotten in the habit of bringing toys with me everywhere and it’s taken on a life of its own. We’re in Dumbo in Brooklyn and the hope is to get a shot of this truck with the bridge in the background. So I’m always looking for long vistas and I want to look way down to a far horizon plane. So I need… I need space and when I get that kind of a situation, that’s when I get the best results, generally. So I think we got that shot, famous Dumbo picture, so we’re gonna walk down to the water and see if we can get a shot of the boat with the Manhattan skyline behind it. Yeah, I’m trying to wet this rock to make it look like ah… the water and I’m hoping that I can get a shot where I take the boat and it blends into the water there. The camera… I can get it about – maybe two inches is about as close – two and half inches – to about seven inches away maybe’d be the furthest before the scale just doesn’t even work. [Laughing] “I think this might work.” It’s really busy and beautiful here in Central Park today. “Fit my arm under here. Alright.” Yeah, so this toy we just picked up at the Brooklyn Flea Market… this toy was in a fire… in a destroyed house… saved… and now here we are shooting at giving it a whole second life. So the new toys have their purpose but the ones that photograph the best to me are the ones that are banged up… the ones that’ve been around for forty or fifty years. I have no idea what they’ve been through and I want to bring that story out. And that’s the stuff I really get into. “The plan is I’m trying to get up to the roof of this place. Any way I can get there?” “You know John Lennon took a picture on the roof of this building, right?” “Don’t want our hats to go flying off.” We tried to get access to shoot a toy of John Lennon at the place where he took a photo in 1974. We couldn’t get in that building so we’re going for the next best thing. We got into a building across the street and we’re going up to the roof here to get a shot with the New York skyline behind it. “I think he was facing this way.” I like to take toys, if they have a purpose, if they have a place, I like to go to that location and shoot them in situ right where they should be and try to make that connection and make that real. We’re in Lower East Side New York, so we’re looking for some good shots over here in The Avenues. The reason I’m able to get the stuff I get is ‘cause I’m not bashful to go put myself in a very awkward situation and just get it. And I don’t overthink it. And I don’t care how awkward it makes other people feel or what people think of me or if my posture is right. It’s just I’m willing to just do it. And I think that’s half of it. “You recognize that little fella?” “Oh yeah.” [Laughter] And for me it’s about human interaction. I played in bands for years; punk hardcore type of stuff. I’ve toured around a bit… put out four full-length albums. It’s those live shows… it’s those live moments where you’re interacting with the audience and you’re feeding off that energy back and forth. You can’t put a price on that and … I find that on the street through photography. So I think it’s just, in some ways, it’s a substitution for that. So that people become a big part of it for me. That human interaction is almost as important to me as getting the shot. When I was young, getting exposed to punk music really taught me to kind of do things for yourself and to believe in yourself. It really is about being true to who you are… and… and not… not giving a shit what anyone else wants you to be. And figuring it out for yourself. “Great. So good to meet you.” “Nice!” “Yeahhhh!” “Alright … Alright.” [Laughter] This street photography is no different. This is one outlet for me that I do on my own. If people like it that’s great; if they don’t like it… it’s okay too. Uh… I, I, I’m gonna keep doing it. And I’m gonna keep telling these stories and hopefully I connect with people on ‘em.


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