New York City has always been known for both its glamour and grit. It's this duality that inspires photographer Nicolas Miller; his neo-noir images capture the cinematic nature of everyday life among the overpasses, high-rises, and neon signs.
Miller's pursuit of imperfect light and lonely urban corners produce images that invoke the magic of film noir in the modern age. To achieve this, he looks for weather and light conditions that most photographers would consider far from ideal. “I love shooting in heavy rain conditions or deep fog,” Miller tells My Modern Met. “I’m a movie addict and a huge fan of the neo-noir genre, especially movies taking place in the gritty '70s or '80s New York.”
Among the movies that inspire him are The French Connection and King of New York, both of which draw on themes of New York's dark underbelly. These are examples of the neo-noir style which modernized the post-war film noir—both styles blur lines between good and evil and use creative shooting angles. The genre invites the viewer to consider the perspectives of characters who often live on the margins of law and society, so the films often feature a central story related to crime.
In addition to the nod to noir, Miller explores the concept of isolation in his work. “A favorite theme of mine is scale,” he explains. “I love capturing isolated subjects walking in the big city. They showcase the small size of man versus gigantic human constructions. They also express the loneliness that a lot of people feel despite living in big cities among millions of others.”
Miller's creative and technically impressive use of poor lighting conditions gives his images a vintage, magical appeal. Through anonymous faces, lonely expanses, and dark windows, Miller's New York City reminds the viewer of the city's cinematic history.