Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Jeff Mermelstein: New ways of looking at Reality

I was very excited to have a chance to meet Jeffrey Mermelstein. I had never met a professional photographer before and the people who have this as their career have always fascinated me. I knew that he was very proficient in his field and I was glad to meet someone who has been a photographer for some time and knew all of the ins and outs of the job. His photos were very entertaining as were his stories. I was vey impressed by Mr. Mermelstein and the variety in his pictures.

            When waiting for Mr. Mermelstein to arrive I was quite unsure of what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was a jovial man who seemed to genuinely enjoy is job. He proceeded to show us numerous photos that he had taken. In his particular brand of photography he seemed to take many pictures of people up close. I was interested in his answer when the topic was brought up about his interactions with people on the street. Obviously there will be times when you run into someone who is not really inclined to have his/her picture taken but Mr. Mermelstein took this all in stride. He said that he tries to avoid confrontation at all times. He even remarked about how careful a photographer has to be because there will be times when he takes a picture of people who should not be with each other, whether it be a mistress or something similar. I was astonished by the courage that he has to have to brazenly walk around Manhattan snapping pictures of people in the street. I was also interested to hear him say that there were times when confrontations arose and one man even removed the film from his camera.

            I was also impressed by Mr. Mermelstein’s sense of the opportune moment. He seemed to have an uncanny knack for snapping pictures that capture a note-worthy moment in time. Photography seems to be his gift and he has an affinity for knowing which subjects to shoot. He expressed that it is not essential to have a subject in mind and that sometime sit is a good thing to just see where the day will take you and what subjects you will happen upon. I feel that Jeffrey Mermelstein captures the essence of what a photographer should be: someone who is adept at choosing the proper subjects to use as well as someone who is open to new ideas and different ways of looking at life. He had many pictures that were genuinely funny and he seemed to laugh at much of his own work. It was truly refreshing to meet someone who has found his passion in life and really enjoys what he does.