Friday, November 6, 2015

Body Paint In Times Square

Vivid Colors on a Human Canvas

The next time you take a stroll through Times Square, don't be surprised if you receive a proposition - from Elmo, Minnie Mouse, Woody from 'Toy Story', or the Snowman from 'Frozen'. The Snowman is quite popular; you may see three or four separate instances of him on a single block.

These "performers" (if we can call them that) solicit money from tourists. They approach with a friendly wave, pose for a photo - sometimes a sizable group of them will jump into the frame. Afterward, they expect to be rewarded in cash.

This practice has been going on for decades. Tourists seem to enjoy their interactions with the "characters" despite the obvious requests for tips. Locals and commuting workers ignore the characters most of the time, but it's still fun to watch them milling around looking for business.

Over the last couple of years, a new type of "character" has set up shop in Times Square  - body painters, young women wearing only thongs, plumed head dresses, and brightly-colored paint on their exposed torsos. Minnie Mouse, they are not, and their presence has sparked some controversy. 

a photo of women in body paint in times square new york
Body Paint in Times Square

Has the presence of topless women degraded the Times Square experience or discouraged families from visiting this part of the city? I'm not sure that anyone knows for certain. The Naked Cowboy is topless, and he hasn't slowed down the flow of tourists. Nevertheless, there has been rhetoric from the mayor's office about shutting the practice down.

Given the uncertain future of the practice, I took it upon myself to snap a few photos of the ladies this past summer. I felt that it was my civic duty.

Camera: Nikon D810
Lens:     Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G ED

Light happens. Be ready. Shoot hard.

Copyright © 2015 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

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