5 East Broadway combines for the first-time color, black and white photography, and short films to present a nuanced and multi-faceted vision of powerful individuality. Between February and May 2023, Tomanova rented a 3.5 by 3.5 meter studio located at 5 East Broadway—literally, a small, crowded room—on the fourth floor of a New York City walk- up building and invited dozens of youth to come and tell her their dreams, to dance, to take photographs, and to film.

5 East Broadway is a specific, precise, focused, and yet expansive project. It is deep with perception and feeling. Within the space of this single address in the heart of NYC’s dense and vibrant Chinatown neighborhood, Tomanova creates an intense condenser—a crystallization—of youth experience. Geographically limiting her project 5 East Broadway to only this place—entrance, stairway, hallway, small studio and the roof—allows Tomanova to focus on a certain sense of interiority against the backdrop of the city itself and all of the dreams that have collected to bring people to this city, this place. 5 East Broadway is both portraits of others and a self-portrait of Tomanova herself, having been drawn to New York City, or having lived here, in a remarkably similar way as the subjects in the photographs. This tension between portrait and self-portrait is something perhaps hinted at in Self Portrait (Shadow) (2023), in which Tomanova’s shadow occupies a place on the roof almost overlapping that which is occupied by Kaia in the portrait Kaia (2023), and perhaps even more obliquely in the abstract Untitled (2023), in which binaries are dissolved in a fiery line eroding clear demarcations or divisions.

In a process that interweaves taking photographs with filming conversations about hopes and dreams and experiences, Tomanova collaborates with her subjects to reveal a certain presence, investigating the idea of what it means to represent a person, of what is a portrait. The resulting photographs and new short films are direct and forthright, displaying the hallmarks of her earlier Young American and New York New York projects but infused with a depth that comes from time. There is a longitudinal aspect of this project. While Tomanova has invited people she hasn’t yet worked with—Laura, Toni, Shorty, Simone, Kayra, Elizabeth—there are many that she has been photographing for years —Atticus, Seashell, Natalie, Isabel, Doe, Makenna—since 2016 in some cases. At 5 East Broadway, Tomanova creates a portrait of youth as a part of her larger body of work that attests to her ongoing consideration of what it means to depict individuality and identity, her own and that of others.