To real estate brokers, Evan Joseph is probably best known as the go-to guy for photographing luxury apartments, and his subjects have included units at well-known developments such as the Laureate and 75 Wall. But he has also trained his lens on the city’s architectural landmarks.
Last night, at a penthouse at 400 Fifth Avenue, Joseph stepped back from the camera to autograph copies of his latest book, “New York Then and Now,” which features older snapshots of New York City contrasted with his own photographs. Meanwhile, the roughly 75 guests, many of them his clients, waited in the slow-moving line for their chance to congratulate the guest of honor while sipping Chardonnay and nibbling on Brie, vegetables and dip. Joseph said he hadn’t even said hello to his mother yet, but his publicist informed him that she had arrived.
“New York Then and Now,” in its third edition, features new architectural photographs by Joseph, with text written by author Marcia Reiss. The book is Joseph’s second after “NYC at Night,” also written by Reiss.
“The book is just a love story about photography and New York,” Joseph said.
“Unlike the first book, which was more of a retrospective done over time, this needed to be done in a snapshot way [because] New York is outdated like that,” Joseph added, snapping his fingers. “We needed to capture as much [of New York] as possible, as quickly as possible: What New York looks like now.”
The unfurnished penthouse where the event was hosted is listed for $15 million with Gail Sankarsingh and Andrew Anderson of Douglas Elliman. Across the hall is the Fendi Casa penthouse, listed by the same team, for approximately $17 million. The Fendi Casa penthouse features all Fendi décor.
The residential development, which sits atop the Setai hotel, is a client. Joseph has also photographed high-end properties at the Manhattan House, the Laurel, the Georgica and the Lucida on the Upper East Side, along with the Laureate, the Aldyn and the Rushmore on the Upper West Side. Further downtown, Joseph’s clients include the office tower at 11 Times Square and 75 Wall’s condominiums. He has also worked with W Hotels, the Ritz Carlton, the Trump Organization and the Russian Tea Room, according to his website.
Joseph said he began photographing residences after starting a tech company about 10 years ago during the “dot com boom.” Previously, Joseph was the director of three art galleries, a founder of Art Collector Magazine and faculty member at Parsons School of Design and the Art Institute of New York, his website said.
“We learned very quickly that our pie-in-the-sky ideas wouldn’t come to fruition,” Joseph said. However, he took on a real estate brokerage as a client and began taking photographs for them.
Rubicon Property, a residential brokerage, uses Joseph and his studio exclusively for all their listings. The firm’s co-founder, Jason Haber, who was at the party Monday night, said he started working with Joseph around 2007 or 2008 and was “immediately taken with his work.”
“A good cameraman takes pictures and a great one captures moments. He captures moments in a way no one else does,” Haber said. “I don’t think of him as photographer, I think of him as an artist. That’s what makes him stand out in his work.”
In fact, Haber said he was present when Joseph took the photo that inspired his first book, “NYC at Night.” Joseph was shooting the residences at the Trump International Tower at 1 Central Park West at night when Haber suggested he put the photos on Flickr. It wasn’t long after that Joseph landed a book deal and his career took off.
Patty LaRocco, a senior vice president at Town Residential, said Joseph is her “photographer of choice.” He photographed one of her townhouse listings, at 81 Hanson Place in Fort Greene, which is on the market for $10 million.
Joseph said he’s been “an obsessive drawer and painter” since he was young.
“I had a real interest and passion for conveying the world around me [and] interpreting the world around me,” Joseph said. “Photography was always a way for me to take notes. It’s like a native language I’ve been speaking forever. For me, it’s like breathing. Photography is something that I do. It’s a way to see the world.”