José Picayo, BFA Photography ’84, loved to wander from his apartment to classes when he first arrived at Parsons. “I never walked one set route,” he says. “I was fascinated by the streets, the subways, the mystery of the people, and the way they carried themselves.” His large-scale Polaroid series—which includes Simone, shown above—reflects Picayo’s
love of people-watching and invites readers to imagine they’re joining the photographer’s walk.
By pairing images of the front and back of a subject’s head, Picayo reinforces the sense of passersby coming and going. Focusing on faces, Picayo encourages viewers to invent stories about his subjects.
Picayo shoots mostly Polaroid film, a challenging medium he prefers for capturing human connection. “Each unique image represents a single moment with a person—a moment I alone see. That moment is what I love about photography.”
Polaroid, a retrospective of Picayo’s 35-year career, will be on view at the Erie Art Museum beginning in June.