E train to everywhere

i am on the subway in new york city, cradling a bag in my lap and holding my suitcase tightly so it doesn’t fall. my head leans against the window and the cool air outside passes through glass and my hair to my skin and makes me shiver. the sun has been setting early these days and by now it is completely dark.

this morning i was in san francisco. the flight was long but flying over new york city at christmastime was the brightest thing i’ve ever seen. it was only an hour ago and when i close my eyes i can still see it, burning like an exploding city.

i notice i am the only white person on the subway and it makes me feel small. down the aisle teenage girls are playing rap music from their phones loudly and dancing.

before me an incredibly beautiful indian woman sleeps. i want my camera so badly but i know it is buried within my camera bag within my suitcase and if i get it she will most likely wake and i will most likely miss my stop. we go through a tunnel and i am seeing a girl glowing in the window.  she is all sleepy blue eyes and long unbrushed hair but i feel a kind of warmth towards her, towards this girl that i’ve hated and loved for so long. the tunnel ends and i disappear.

suddenly something snaps in my mind. suddenly i realise this is my youth. this is the young me i will remember when i am old and longing. these are all memories i will tell my children and grandchildren and myself. i take a mental photograph like i often do and i close my eyes tightly while it develops.

a few snapshots i’ve taken while getting lost in this city.

72 love notes

  1. Oh, this short entry had me near tears. Those ephemeral, entirely self-aware moments are heartbreaking to the point of breathlessness. Our present self (the “I” we are today, this moment, and never again will be) is ever-changing and inexorably mutable, and this is often hard to even fathom. Thirty years from now we will recall those seemingly inconsequential moments–spent on a subway, or drinking coffee, walking in the woods–and never be able to repeat them; perhaps worse, we won’t even remember them cleanly and fully anymore (the same way our childhood slowly seeps away, becomes something distorted and eerily foreign). Alas, tempus fugit.

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  3. Your story and images are beautiful beyond words. Haunting and lovely and more than a little bit sad.

  4. thank you for letting me inside your head….its like I can see how you view the world

    thanks nirrimi you always produce great stuff

  5. I really like your photos – I think you're a very talented photographer! I love taking photos myself and that's also mainly what my blog is about. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    sallykamille.blogspot.com

  6. These photos are beautiful. I always love your photos of places best.I go to New York City often, and I always forget to snap photos. I think it's out of fear people will get annoyed, but I'm going to channel a bit of your bravery in my life and just do it. Thanks for the inpiration, Sweets!

  7. thanks for the impressions. I really like your texts, your thoughts and the pictures in addition.

    greetings from germany.

  8. I can't help but agree with everything that has already been said! I'm sure you get this often but I am a new reader and wondering what camera you have used for these photos? They are absolutely wonderful x

  9. i take those mental photos too.. i especially like taking them at times when i am really happy and think that 'this' i will remember for a really really long time

  10. The world through your eyes is so beautiful.

    I love hearing about your travels. And I love that you are out there experiencing things, sharing your perspective and your talent.

  11. These make me want to return to New York so much! Out of curiosity, how do you take subway photos without people giving you weird looks and asking what you're doing?

  12. Have you ever considered writing a book. Your words are amazing as are your photo's. You have a way of making everyone escape into your world, even for a moment. Just lovely.

  13. wow. I'm so damn inspired and fascinated of you.
    Hope you'll take a little look at my blog.
    You've got a new huge fan now. ME

  14. This writting is so strange… it's sounds very very american, like around the city I live in (Cincinnati). I find it hideous and discusting- but I sware you just brought the most beauty but of it all. This makes me actually look at the beauty in my city surroundings, even though I hate it.

  15. this post captures just about everything i love about you, about new york, about being young. you are astounding.

  16. oh nirrimi. you are amazing. i grew up in NYC but i am going to leave this place when i go to college. your photos make me appreciate every little thing about this city <3

  17. Lovely photos. I live in NYC and your photos give me a feeling of yearn for a city that I have yet to experience.

  18. Lovely story. I have to get a train 4 days a week to college and I always make up stories about the current situations as well, it's actually really nice and calming. I've always wondered, do you ask people for permission to take pictures of them while on a train or whatever?

  19. These are spectacular, especially the color. I know LA and NY are two different worlds, but for some reason these remind me of myself exploring downtown LA and the metro when I was fifteen and going around with my Canon 40d (luckily replaced by the 550d, lol) taking pictures of everything.

    Ps; I mentioned you and Matt in my blog 🙂
    http://wildcanyonsandwhiskey.blogspot.com/

  20. mhh know that feeling..
    can't wait to be in my fav' city soon again!
    for how long are you stayin in bigapple?
    xx jas'

  21. I love New York. I wish I were there all the time. These photos really capture a reality that in New York City. Well done 🙂

  22. You are my biggest source to inspiration, I think you are amazing. Finland is lovely right now btw, lots of snow, freezing cold and bright stars

  23. I love your line about the mental photograph; I wish all too often that I could take photos with nothing but my eyes, because sometimes cameras just seem to get in the way.

  24. Gosh, New York city is perfect. These photos capture everything I've ever imagined about this city. I have to make it there one day.

  25. As someone who lives in New York City, it excites me to see your pictures of this place, especially the 34th St station, where my train passes daily. I was scanning your pictures, thinking, what if she took a picture of a person on a train who I've seen too? What if I was there?

    Your pictures of the city make me more courageous about my pictures of the city.

  26. You have an amazing talent!
    I run out of things to say everytime I comment.

    Sometimes, I just look past the beautiful photos to your words, which are as captivating and capturing as your photos . . . you make it so easy to just make me closemy eyes and actually be there.

    Amazing.

  27. Great photos! You have captured NYC spirit wonderfully. I really like your blog, it's on my "Check regularly" list.
    Stay warm,
    M

  28. I love your subway photos! I don't have the courage to take any when I'm on the subway but now I'm motivated to 🙂

  29. You are so inspirational, so is your writing and photography; and your video's are so lovely as well! your youth is something people wouldn't dream of having, and you sure seem to be making the most of it! you're astounding! <3

  30. Wooooooooooooooh!!! this are amazing!!! Not that you get lost in the city, of course, but all the pictures you were able to take!
    These are amazing! You are able to catch the beauty even in a ordinary day. You are the best one, Nirrimi. I really mean it!

  31. "suddenly something snaps in my mind. suddenly i realise this is my youth. this is the young me i will remember when i am old and longing" this made my heart smile… i hope you do remember

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