New York Film Locations

NY Through the Lens

2 January 2017

otsoNY recently caught up with the extremely talented Vivienne Gucwa; photographer and writer for the blog and coffee table book - NY Through the Lens, which was published in the autumn of 2014 and went onto become a best-selling book.

Vivienne was born and raised in the Queens borough of New York, but for the past decade has lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and works as a full-time artist. “It was a long road to get to this point in my life and career,” explained Vivienne. “Especially since I grew up quite poor and haven’t had any family support as an adult. I am grateful for this life and my career and I pinch myself almost every day. If I could bottle that feeling and share it, I would.” Her work is licensed commercially and also sold as prints in collections around the world. Vivienne adds, “I also frequently partner with brands, and destinations to do campaigns featuring my work.”

Vivienne Gucwa

In 2008, Vivienne fell on hard times. “I was extremely broke and had very little money,” she explained. “I was also stressed out as I had quit my job to go back to school to finally finish the degree which I had abandoned nearly a decade earlier because I needed to work many jobs to support myself. Living on my own since the age of 17 years old put me in the precarious position of working many jobs to keep myself afloat while living in New York City. I worked 7 days a week for quite a while and decided I needed to make a change in my life before my life passed me by and I barely explored my passions.” Vivienne continued, “It took a huge leap of faith to put myself back in school. But I did. I decided to go back to school pursuing a pre-med path. Without much in the way of material things or financial prosperity, walking became my number one way to deal with stress. It also became a way for me to experience the city like I hadn’t before. I would choose a direction and walk as far as my feet would take me; I still do this. My walks opened my eyes to a New York City that I hadn’t experienced before. I knew that I wanted to capture the moments and experiences on my walks that made my heart swell. However, I was so broke that I couldn’t even afford a smartphone or a smartphone plan. I went on Amazon and purchased the cheapest point and shoot I could find. At $79, it was a huge investment at the time. That humble little camera had one button and a few settings. I didn’t care though. I finally had a tool to explore my view and vision of New York City.”

Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

In 2009, Vivienne decided to finally post her photos online. “I knew nothing about posting photography online and had heard that blogs were a great place to post photography. I literally googled the word ‘blog’ one evening and Tumblr came up as the first search result. I decided to create my blog, NY Through The Lens on Tumblr purely for myself as a way to view my collected images in a beautiful way online.”

Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

Since Vivienne had no formal training in photography or in-depth knowledge of the rules and concepts defining the field, it didn’t occur to her that there would be an audience for her work. “I honestly didn’t think that anyone would be interested in what I was posting online to my Tumblr blog. However, within a few months of posting my photos to Tumblr, I amassed close to 70,000 followers and I was both humbled and touched by the messages I would receive on a weekly basis. Starting out in photography with limited tools enticed me to learn more about light, which in turn, has set me on a lifelong journey attempting to capture something as fleeting and vast as the transient quality of New York City and other places around the world.”

Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

That initial leap of posting her photography online and eventually across social media started an epic adventure and led to photography and writing becoming her career. “I am thankful everyday that I get to share my passion with an online audience of over 450,000. The ability to connect with people on a regular basis is something I never take for granted.”

Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

Vivienne admits that most of her photography is heavily influenced by cinema, music, and other art forms. “I am also endlessly haunted by a sense of saudade and sehnsucht: a deep longing for a place that is unidentifiable but somehow familiar and indicative of what could be identified as home. I am on a never-ending quest to attempt to imbue my photography of cities and landscapes with this complex notion of nostalgic longing. I am fascinated and interested in exploring how certain tones can produce feelings of different forms of nostalgia and how colour or lack of colour influences memory and desire.”

Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

Her blog has become a top destination for travel enthusiasts, photography lovers, history buffs, and people looking for a deeper connection to the places in New York City and around the world that they daydream about. Vivienne explained, “I am dedicated to the idea of exploring the rest of the world in the same way I have approached exploring, photographing, and writing about New York City. I relish the opportunity to bring along my online audience on my many journeys around New York City and all over the world.”

Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

Photo by Vivienne Gucwa

Photo by Vivienne Gucwa






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