CNN Photos

Dancing in New York’s streets

Long before moving to New York City, where she has become an acclaimed photographer, Veronika Marquez had an unusual start.

“I worked as a prostitute (in Buenos Aires) when I was young,” Marquez said. “And to narrate my personal experience, I brought together the past and the present to the same place.

“In this series on New York, I relate in a completely different way to the issues of prostitution. In reality, I am still working with my body but on the other side.”

That other side, she says, was crucial in producing NY Dance, a series of self-portraits where Marquez, embodying different personas, jolts sensually through New York’s famous landscapes, stopping traffic as she photographs herself in her unusual street choreography.

Rewriting scenarios in one of the most photographed cities in the world, Marquez focuses on the unseen, magnetic force field that is New York — the frenetic energy that fueled the music of George Gershwin and inspired so many modern artists. Multiple layers are created by the roles played by the artist: She is the photographer, but she is photographed in her own picture. Her body roams free amid buildings, parks and traffic, but it is also exposed and vulnerable.

Before embarking on this photographic mission, Marquez walked several miles through Manhattan observing the body language of New Yorkers, which she found fascinating.

“I was always amazed at the way people moved. There was a constant choreography in the streets that kept me curious,” Marquez said. “There is so much energy in the streets at all times, and even when people stopped to rest they perched themselves in such interesting positions. I couldn’t help watching.”

Marquez, cataloging these positions, zoned into a common body language of the city’s inhabitants. With different poses combined into the same frame using Photoshop, the composition has an audible narrative of its own.

“New York has so many faces,” she said. “It can be a very hard place, very cold. But to me, it feels welcoming. … It is a city that inspires. It makes me feel like running through the streets.”

- Helena Cavendish de Moura, Special to CNN