Ben Orlansky

These are my eyes. This is my city. Welcome to New York.

Some of my photos lie. Or do they? I capture microseconds of humanity. Look at that old man laughing. It warms your heart and puts a smile on your face. Well, actually, he was just picking his teeth, but the results and effects of those little micromoments remain the same. I may lie through my photos, but those lies have effected me greatly, and I hope they do the same for you.

There are so many artists who refuse to recognize themselves as such either because they haven’t reached a predetermined level of success, be it monetary or through public recognition, or simply because they think their work is shit. This is nothing short of tragic. Being an artist has nothing to do with success. How many commercially successful “artists” are out there who have no idea what it means to be one? You are an artist simply because you have no choice. You have a thirst within you that will never die. You have a need to create, and you must create to survive. Show me an artist who doesn’t have some way to express himself and I’ll show you pure misery. To any of you out there who can feel my words, who have felt the need I speak of, and have known the pain I speak of, you are, regardless of your status, an artist.

She lives in a city where everyone sees everything - everything but her. She thinks maybe she’s just too fucking ugly. She’s invisible, amidst a sea of rushing color and beautiful faces. She wonders if anyone would see her if she screamed. She scans the storm of endless eyes, searching for the one that searches too. She sees him, standing motionless against the tide. She watches in disbelief as his eyes move through the crowd, searching, searching for something, searching for her? His sighs crush his shoulders and the color leaves his eyes. Just before he turns to leave, he catches her wide-eyed stare and they both freeze, in startling contrast to the motion surrounding them. They move toward each other, almost involuntarily, their feet never hitting the ground. The impenetrable crowd parts effortlessly for them, in recognition of two souls that have found their home.

She has scabs on her knees and she walks with a limp. There are fingerprints on her throat and a five-fingered trail of scratches on her back. Her lips are swollen and bitten, but that doesn’t seem to stop her smile. That smile, god, it lights up her face, because her heart’s the only part that doesn’t bleed anymore.

To understand art is to kill art. It was not made to be understood, it does not exist to be understood. Do you understand love? Do you understand the sky? To feel art - to feel it break your heart and make you unreasonably happy, to feel its hope despite its hopelessness, to feel its anger and destructiveness - this is art. Let it take you over and let it overwhelm you. Let it hurt you. Let it change you. Let it stab you in the chest and make you bleed, let it make you high and bring you down. Let it make you want to change the world, and let it tell you that you can’t. Let it make you feel, let it make you feel, let it make you feel.