Time Square, lower manhattan, New York
New York – Photo Tip

Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture

Photo by Ton Koene

New York – Photo Tip Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture

I came across the “Naked Cowboy” purely by chance, while I was photographing the street life around Times Square in New York City.

Ton Koene
Ton Koene Travel Photographer

I didn’t know who he was at first, but the Naked Cowboy is in fact a true Times Square and New York legend. Playing his guitar, wearing only a pair of tighty-whities, boots and a cowboy hat, he makes good money, charging people to take his picture.

Tourists visiting Times Square stop in their tracks when they see him and it takes them a few seconds to figure out what on earth is going on. Both adult women and teenage girls start giggling and whispering to each other, while eyeing his well-built body.

I introduced myself and asked for permission to take some pictures. I started photographing him but didn’t like the results. Something was wrong – it wasn’t working. Then I realized that it was the interaction between him and the female spectators that I should focus on.

A group of young women were rather excited about seeing him but were also very shy. However, once one of them started taking photos with her mobile phone the others all joined in, flirting and giggling. I had my picture.

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Tourists can tip to have their photo taken with the Naked Cowboy, which can add up to hundreds of dollars a day.

Tourists can tip to have their photo taken with the Naked Cowboy, which can add up to hundreds of dollars a day.

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