Shot for Shot: Eian Kantor + Daniel Schwartz // South Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Shot for Shot: Eian Kantor + Daniel Schwartz
South Williamsburg, Brooklyn
July 28, 2018

Daniel and I met because of a Facebook post. Newly back on Facebook, I threw my portfolio in a post, asking for friends to pass it around. A former band-mate, Justin, commented with Daniel's name and said that we should meet up.

We chose to hang out in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn on July 28, 2018 and take photos. Both coming from Jewish backgrounds, we've always been intrigued by the insular life of the Ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities.

Daniel is a native of Jackson Heights, Queens, but now lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He is the travel editor at Fathom. He is on Instagram as @hellowithyou.

These photos were taken with digital cameras. Click an image to make it larger.

We hope you enjoy the photos and the commentary!

- Eian

EK: It was late afternoon, nearing the end of Shabbat. I saw three boys riding these bikes up the street with excitement and confidence. I took a few shots to try and capture them all ridin' dirty, but could only catch this one boy in focus. I loved his smirk, even if you can only see it on the very slight left side of his mouth.

DS: I love the positioning of this chair. As if it was waiting for whoever last sat in it to return. I found it like this. I can take no credit for how perfectly placed it is within the scene. It's an entity in and of itself.

EK: This photo speaks to me on a few levels. For one, Daniel and I both stopped to take this shot from different angles (I didn't know this until he sent me the images later on). When I saw the difference between our photographs of this exact same moment in time, it made me think long and hard about how people -- especially photographers -- can see something the same moment and conceptualize it completely uniquely. On another level, the contrast between presumably the older sister, the mom, and the two younger daughters is stark. The tones of the blue, black, and pink glistened in a way that represented degrees of maturity.

DS: This makes me think of my own childhood, when I attended Yeshiva for three years. I never rode the bus to school, my mother always took me in on the train and city bus. Both were required to reach Kew Gardens from Jackson Heights. The stuff that would go down in the classroom and on the playground was crazy enough, can’t imagine what it was like on the school bus. I feel for all the kids on this bus that don’t want to be there.

EK: I know people are going to give me shit for comparing Hasidic jews to pigeons, but these three pigeons reminded me of three Hasidic men walking we had seen earlier in our walk. All coated with slightly different feathers, the three pigeons stood on this awning in contemplation. On a completely different note, my grandmother's name was Tzipporah, which means "small bird." These pigeons reminded me of her. 

EK: A young man walks away from me. I have no idea where he was coming from and I have no idea where he was going, but the wind flowing through his side curls made for a nice capture (despite it being a bit blurry).

DS: She slammed the door so hard after this. I wonder whether she always slams the door that hard or whether she was sick of photographers like myself trying to sneak a peek into her life. She could’ve also been having a rough day. She was pounding down the street before I took this. Her son doesn’t look all that calm, either. Again, was it her or was it me. 

DS: We walked passed each other. I thought to myself, funny how they almost look like monks in those outfits. Parents love coordinating their kids’ outfits around here. Must be more affordable to buy the same clothes for all your kids. No wanting what the other has. We both turned around and looked back as I took this shot.

EK: There's a certain solitude about this shopping cart that I love. On Shabbat in South Williamsburg, the streets are quiet. Almost nobody is out. It feels like a ghost town, yet you know the buildings are filled with the observant praying. This shopping cart left on the street is a reminder of how things stop in time during the religious hours of ultra-orthodox judaism.

DS: I love the contrast here. Not just technically: the four of them and their shadows against the afternoon sun, two dark-haired women leading two blond children across the street. I mean the fact that they’re walking the line between two worlds. Their Hasidic community on one side; a public housing building on the other. Two different worlds entirely. That’s Brooklyn for ya. 

EK: There is something really special about the way this baby's hand is placed on his/her father's shoulder while the family stands enthralled by MTA track maintenance on Broadway. In walking around around the Hasidic community a few times it seems that women -- mothers and daughters -- take the mostly take care of the children, and I thought this moment between a child and a father was endearing.

DS: These two were walking behind me, so I decided to camp out by this railing, behind a tuft of greenery, and wait until they rounded the corner to grab this shot. I love the slight smirk on his face. What on earth is he thinking? Most folks in this part of town look away if they see you have a camera in-hand, so it was nice to catch a genuine expression. They didn’t see me waiting there at all.

EK: Something about the light, the shadows, and the nature of tough manual labor inspired me to take this photo. These folks must have been really hot. They were working hard, trying to get our subway system to function better.

DS: This feels voyeuristic to me. Almost like I’m looking at something I shouldn’t be. The jacket was left so open and exposed. Its color — blush, almost the color of skin — and its soft texture makes me think of a woman’s body. Its small size is also curious. Who did it belong to? How old was she? How did it end up like this? I’m left with so many questions. I also love how I came across a Forever 21 women’s blazer in Hasidic Williamsburg.