The sounds of New York City roar through every block, and the bustling visuals are enough to keep any head on a constant swivel. Raylivez is a local and coveted artist who is climbing the skyscraper of widely recognized photographers from the Empire City. Blending reality and sometimes the imaginative, Raylivez halts the noise in Manhattan, freezing the soul of the city in time. We tracked Raylivez down for our latest Sit Down for all you shooters out there, because when the team at CYTIES visualizes New York, we see it through the artistic eyes of Raylivez.
CYTIES: Thanks for being the latest Sit Down for our readers, let’s kick it off. What’s your favorite season to shoot in Manhattan?
Raylivez: Number one is definitely winter, especially with all the snowfall. Fall is becoming another favorite of mine. I just started shooting more of fall this year, it’s extremely fun to work with all the different colors in the city. You see all the other shooters around, and it’s just so cool to look at visually.
CYTIES: What’s that one New York City location, relic, or building that you can’t get enough of shooting?
Raylivez: Definitely Chinatown, that’s my number one spot to hit just because you can capture so many different views. Every day is different there, I’ll never get over that view.
CYTIES: Turning back the clock what’s your earliest memory that ignited the drive to become a professional photographer
Raylivez: I’ve always been an artist, I used to do a lot of drawings. Then started using my phone and sort of just taking artistic pictures and using digital art. What you can create now digital wise is just crazy, Photoshop really has no limit. A lot of influencers from Instagram paved the way, guys who influenced me personally were @13thwitness; that’s his Instagram name, another one is Jason Pearson. Both these guys helped get me really into it.
I see it kind of like a movie in my head.
CYTIES: Every now and then your work blends the imaginative with reality can you dive into what influences those next level artistic photos.
Raylivez: That’s just me basically messing around and bringing to life many of my visions. I see it kind of like a movie in my head.
CYTIES: Equipment is vital in your world, what’s your go-to camera and gear?
CYTIES: Is there a city you haven’t been to that you would love to hit with your camera?
Raylivez: Oh definitely Chicago, that’s my number one on the list right now, at least in the States. I would definitely book the trip around the winter time. I see so many pictures from there in the winter season, and it looks amazing. So yeah, Chicago is it.
CYTIES: You have you a massive cult following via Instagram. How is that platform change the world for photographers?
Raylivez: Opportunities, so many opportunities can be found with today’s social media. It’s crazy that you can just post something and catch the eyes of people across the world. If I think about it, I actually started my career on Instagram; it’s wild.
CYTIES: When the equipment is down and the lenses given a rest, what’s a regular day like for you in Manhattan?
Raylivez: I’ve basically been in NYC all my life, so everything is normal for me in the city. Just enjoy walking around or and diving into some good food. I’ll see a specific spot and remind myself to return next time I have my camera with me.
CYTIES: You’re always thinking about the photos aren’t you?
Raylivez: Ha, yeah always. If I see something that catches the eye, I know I’ll be back with the camera.
CYTIES: Last question, if you could shoot one subject alive or dead, who is it and why?
Raylivez: Oh yeah, I’ve thought about this one—definitely Michael Jackson. Him on stage would be just so cool. Or, to shoot the streets and see fans reacting to him. It would have been my dream to do that when he was around.
MJ was known for asking who’s bad? Well, Raylivez is one bad cat in the concrete jungle, and he’s proven that passion and dedication to craft can pave the way for a creative career. Here’s to dropping it all and picking up a camera with the only intention to get lost in a city.
Portrait Photo Credit: @focvsd