Tina Mancusi

Tina Mancusi


Growing up in New York City, I’ve always been surrounded by a sort of rapid energy. Everyday life here can feel intense and heavy. Concrete sidewalks. Steel bridges. Building so high they sometimes over shadow the sun. Lights beaming from countless windows make it hard to spot the moon. People are always in a hurry. Hardly anyone looks up. Eye contact is rare. It’s so easy to lose the moment. Time flies and what’s left is an exhausted mind and drained body. Somewhere along the way we lose our sense of peace.

One night, I stood at the corner of 42nd street and 3rd avenue with my camera. In front of me was the Chrysler building. A block up stood Grand Central Station. The MetLife building was within eye-shot. The Empire State building was a few blocks in the distance. I looked up and just stared. And in between and behind and around all of these incredible structures, I felt God. I saw a holy spirit in all of it. The visualizations were large than life. The divinity I felt dwarfed every skyscraper and monument in front of me.

My fingers snapped quicker than my eye could focus. I knew it wasn’t only the city I was capturing. I was capturing the sacred feeling in between the spaces. I thought it impossible. But I wanted so badly to be able to express the divinity I felt. It was beyond my own comprehension and, too difficult to put into words. But after a few hundred pictures, I rushed home and tried to translate what I visualized in my photos. The result is this series I call “Saints In the City.”

In this series titles "Saints In The City", I try to blend peaceful images of the divine within this rough and rigid place. The photos are usually taken at night. And most times after it rains. I like the contrast of the leftover water shining on the edges of buildings and glossing the tar streets. The icons are backdrops but somehow they naturally take the forefront. Their fade is intentional. I want these beautiful images to blend seamlessly into the everyday view people see of city. The colors are usually gritty and sometimes blurred. This is intentional so that each person will see the colors only their eyes focus in on.

Most importantly, I want people to know that there’s something greater. There’s a spirit to find comfort in. And if you ever feel lost and lonely in such an overwhelming city, remember to look up. We are not alone.

Saints In The City