So, it’s precisely two weeks (+one day) until my first big journey sans bébé. I’m so excited, you have no idea.
New York has a very special place in my heart and if I was forced to leave Berlin, New York (or moreover Brooklyn) would be one of my very few alternatives for a happy longterm living. I love the spirit on the streets, I love the skyline, I love the craziness, the pace of life.
I lived in New York for a couple of months in 2009, assisting a successful fashion and commercial photographer on many big shoots, including Mexican Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Tush, L’Oréal, Sephora and more. My place was at the very end of the hierarchy, I was the little girl standing in the corner and running for whatever was needed, toilet paper, a special lens or filter, tampons, a certain nail polish or backdrop. I was the last one to sweep the floors late at night after every shoot and I was one of the first to come in in the morning and prepare. On a good day I scouted beautiful models on go-sees, on a bad day I would run to the same hardware store 25 times in a row to buy different kinds of screws. I became a pro in returning used and incomplete items without a receipt and I could organize things I would today consider impossible. With the right amount of stress, pressure and spirit, everything was possible in New York. Life also had it’s downsides, I lived literally on no money, with a bitchy roommate (and her two dogs) who hated me and didn’t talk much, in a room as big as the airmatress that I slept on for weeks. Every morning, the dogs pooped in the bathroom, and because I was the first to be up and take a shower, I always had to clean their shit away.
For me, New York was my time of apprenticeship, a rough time with few friends and no resources (and a lot of trouble and sadness waiting for me back home), but very educational in many kinds of ways. There might have never been a time where I tested my limits more, got more disappointed of some people and so positively surprised by others. Even though I never saw my place in fashion photography and never as an assistant, I might have learned as much as in all the other years of my life, at least on the photography and business site of life.
I lost about six kilograms in only three months and definitely hardened from the inside. New York wasn’t the time and place to pamper me, but it was the time and place that taught me where I belong, what I want in life and what I don’t. In the end it was the last spark I needed to decide on a full-time photography career and gave me the lesson that almost nothing is really impossible if you work hard for it. I returned a year later and fell even deeper for the city. Ever since, life hasn’t taken me back and I’m thrilled things went into place this time, gave me a job paying for my ticket and expenses and experiencing it all once again.
It’s been so long, and I can’t wait to breathe and that air again.
All photos: Carolin Weinkopf
(I am still taking small assignments for my time in New York. I only have seven days and most of them are pretty packed already, but if you have something in mind to assign me to photograph, I am very open for more tasks. Keep me busy and write me an email at carolinweinkopf(at)gmail.com.)