Art Seen

This Photographer's Knack For Timing Results In A Stunning Photo Series Of 'Coincidences'

Absolutely brilliant.

For photographer Jonathan Higbee, coincidence is a beautiful thing. 

In his series entitled Coincidences, Higbee captures random coincidences throughout New York City: a passerby imitating public art, a white-haired man sitting beneath a toupée cloud. When asked how the series came about, Higbee tells A Plus that, well, it "happened by coincidence."

Higbee himself was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., but has lived in New York City for almost 10 years. He adds that he fell in love with the city's energy, and used photography to help hone it all in. 

"I had just moved to New York and set out to become more acquainted with my new hometown with the help of my camera," he says. "For someone new to Manhattan, the amount of sensory overload can be overwhelming: advertisements the size of buildings blanket your field of vision, while street art and graffiti take over any space that billboards haven't reached. But most of all it's the sheer number of people — an unbelievable amount of people! — that really makes an impression."

For so many people, New York City is filled with inspiration. The same goes for Higbee, who says the city calls him to do his work. 

"[It's] The energy. The chaos. The sensory overload. It all just gets in your veins, like an IV drip! It's intoxicating and disorienting — and there's really no other place like it in the world," he adds. "Being in New York makes you feel like anything is possible. There's always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to meet. Living here is an endless act of managing and even exploiting the chaos, and it's a thrilling experience. So thrilling that it pushes me out onto the streets every day, with my camera in hand."

And that's exactly what he does. 

"Making sense of the chaos, for me, materialized in photographs of these unbelievable moments when all of New York comes together for a split second to tell a story. After I made the first few 'holy crap!' photographs, I realized that I was on to something." 

When asked what he finds so beautiful about these coincidences, the photographer tells us that he's "awestruck by the beauty of serendipity." 

"When life throws disparate, unrelated elements (whether a billboard, a discarded umbrella, a woman running to work, etc.) together in a way that seems intentional for the briefest of seconds, it's hard not to be enchanted. These ephemeral moments of meaning are gone in a blink. Being able to preserve them and share them with others who may get a kick or a smile out of them keeps me going," he says.

Higbee's work has certainly garnered him a following; the photographer has more than 28,000 Instagram followers, many of whom leave positive comments on his work, often complementing his stunning compositions and impeccable timing. He is also a 2018 Hasselblad Masters finalist and won the 2015 World Street Photography grand prize, among other accolades. 

"I primarily hope my photographs inspire a sense of wonder. I still feel that — even when looking at work I've looked at a thousand times before! Life can be so weird and can easily seem senseless on the best of days. I would be thrilled if the photographs in Coincidence give folks an excuse to take a break from reality and existence, even if just for a moment, to laugh and smile at the odd little miracles happening all around us."

Finally, we asked Higbee what advice he has for other photographers who may need a little motivation to do what they love. 

"Block happens to every artist! It's an inevitable part of the creative process for all of us, so you're in good company. It's not a joyful experience, that's for sure," he says. "But in my experience, seriously investigating the source of the disinterest can lead you to something within yourself that is truly meaningful."

Higbee recommends asking yourself something like: "Why am I not motivated to shoot my self-portrait project?" 

"Well, upon further investigation, you may find that this project isn't the strongest way to express your thesis to the world. Maybe there's another project that's better suited! Start brainstorming other projects that might be better messengers of your idea, and that usually is enough to ignite inspiration once again. Point is, don't beat yourself up about creative block. Harness it!"

And if that's exactly what you need to hear today, well, then ... what a coincidence. 

Check out more from the "Coincidences" series below:

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(H/T: Fubiz)

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