Marie Tomanova’s New York New York is a landscape of youth and a portrait of place—entwining person and environment. New York City is an almost mythic entity, a place of both coming to and becoming in. Depending on one’s point of view, it has been—and perhaps still is—a gateway to “America,” to a new life, to a land of vast opportunity. It has been the kernel and the door to a future for those arriving from another country, as well as from other parts of the United States, to find, express, and be themselves.
Shot in New York City, mostly in 2019 and 2020, Tomanova merges the genres of portrait and landscape to effortlessly bounce off one another, revealing a social landscape inextricably linked to place, a portrait of a certain New York City, one that is a picture of her world, a landscape of her life.
Tomanova left her family farm in the small border town of Mikulov in the Czech Republic and came to the United States in 2011 and to New York in 2012, alone, knowing no one. And her world expands. It is a story of dreaming, risking, surviving, and finding one’s own way, and it likely mirrors the aspirations and the emotional landscape of the individuals Tomanova has photographed for New York New York.
It is often easy to look back and not see the struggle, not see the hardship, to forget the moments of pain and difficulty that can loom so large in the process of finding oneself in a new place. The antidote, of course, is to focus on the dream, the motivation; to build a world in which to fit or to find a place of belonging. New York New York is that big city of dreams.