All 7 Digital Issues 50% Off

Learn More

Search

Paulie B.

We catch up with Paulie B to chat about street photography and his hugely motivational YouTube series: Walkie-Talkie.

How important is it to you, to make time for street photography?

It’s right up there with spending time with my family. It’s something I’ve consciously made an effort to prioritise in my life. Whenever I know it might be busy outside or during prime time for taking photos with a lot of foot traffic, I try not to let other things bog me down. Otherwise, I find myself frustrated. Even though I don’t go on Instagram much anymore, if I see people out, I start to experience a lot of FOMO, wishing I was there. This affects my mood. I prioritise having open space where I can go out, and take photos without other obligations.

How do you feel about consuming street photography on Instagram?

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and scrolled through the feed. I consume a lot of photography via books or even my Walkie-Talkie series. Often when I am out on the street, if somebody is excited about a photo enough to pull it up on their phone and show me, that’s another way too. I’m using Instagram less, but I wouldn’t say it’s dead to me, It’s just a good way for me to push work out. I get my entertainment through other social media platforms. I get my photo inspiration from other areas. And then I connect with friends in other ways. What else would I use Instagram for at this point? I don’t know.

 

Was spending less time on Instagram, part of why you wanted to do more YouTube? Is that partly why you started Walkie-Talkie?

No, YouTube is a little separate. I feel like the YouTube thing was more about me not seeing the types of conversations about photography that I see in real life. Back in 2020 if you searched street photography on YouTube, it was a lot of GoPro POV stuff, which is fine, but it was a lot of chest POV, people using the back screen of their camera and taking photographs of buses and these videos got millions of views. But that just wasn’t what I saw in real life in New York City and I wanted to be able to showcase what I know as my reality and showcase the community here in New York City. I feel like New York City is probably one of the first places in the world that people associate with street photography. So to go on YouTube and be underwhelmed by how New York was represented made me want to do something about that. So I decided to bring these conversations that I’m having in real life to video. And so the influence and the inspiration and the talks don’t stop with me. They’re in the ether now, so you can watch them whenever you want.

What kind of street photographs do you look for? And enjoy taking?

It was different than what I was looking for two years ago or one year ago, or it’ll be different in two years. Right now, it starts with a moment or a character, that’s the trigger. Then, ‘What can I piece around that and how can I make that frame as interesting as possible?’ A long time ago when I was still in Chicago, it was, ‘How can I take that character or moment and isolate it as much as I can?’ And I was still doing that when I moved to New York, but now it’s much more, ‘How can I take that character or moment, surround it with the chaos, and organise it in the most interesting frame possible?’ I just want to make it into organised chaos. And that’s kind of how I view New York right now, especially in the areas that I shoot, everything is just chaos. What I want is that packed frame where a lot of things are happening.

What inspires you outside of street photography?

I would say successful individuals, especially with creative success, and learning their journey and their mindset, listening to interviews and using my lens to kind of relate it to what I’m doing, whether that’s being a dad or shooting street or making YouTube videos. Every time I listen to a Kobe Bryant interview and he talks about getting up at 4 a.m. and hustling and it’s all about his mindset, I relate that to being out on the street. My mindset is, I’m gonna be out there. I might not be the best photographer, but I’m willing to outwork anybody out there. So I’ll be out there, you know, till my legs fall off.

What’s next for you on YouTube? More Walkie-Talkies?

More Walkie-Talkies for sure. I have a couple lined up that have been filmed and then I’m filming three in the next three weeks. And then eventually, hopefully, take the Walkie-Talkies around the United States and then take them worldwide. And then after that’s done, maybe we just wrap it up, tie it with a bow and ship it off so we don’t have a season eight Game of Thrones type of situation.