INTERVIEW WITH AARON PEGG OF UNDERGROUND NYC
If you're a New Yorker, you may have seen Aaron ("Clifton") Pegg out and about taking photographs underground in the NYC subways. You also may have heard about him, or stumbled across his super-popular Instagram account, @Underground_NYC.
As New Yorkers, we take the subway often – it's part of our daily routine. But how often have we stopped to appreciate the subway in an artistic sense? Photographer Aaron Pegg did just that.
Photographing all types of people – from models, celebrities, singers, ballerinas and athletes – Aaron Pegg has redefined to New Yorkers and visitors alike, that the NYC subway system can, in fact, be glamorous and sexy. With over 200,000 Instagram followers, he's quickly growing a dedicated following, waiting to see what he creates next.
We were delighted to welcome Aaron to YOTEL for a weekend stay-cation last month. While visiting, we caught up with him for a quick chat:
When did you first start taking photos? Did you realize you were meant to be a photographer at an early age?
I started taking photographs about 4 years ago. I always loved visuals. Was always intrigued by the ads in magazines but didn't explore the idea of creating my own images consistently until Instagram.
How long has Underground NYC been around? What gave you the idea to start the site/account?
The Instagram account @Underground_NYC has been around for 2 and half years now. I started the feed because I simply didn't think there was a big representation of the subway here in NYC on Instagram. Most NYC photographers focused more on the street photography, iconic skyscrapers and bridge shots. I wanted to change the perception of the subway from a mundane commute to a beautiful destination.
The majority of your photos are taken on the subway platform & on subway trains. What’s your favourite behind-the-scenes moment of shooting underground so far? How do onlookers react to you shooting models?
I don't necessarily have a favourite moment. All of the behind-the-scenes moments are very different and spontaneous. I love that about shooting in the subway. You never know what you are going to get. It's very unpredictable and I think that helps keep the images fresh and myself and the models on our toes.
The onlookers' reactions are interesting. Some laugh, act shocked and surprised by some of the outfits.
What’s your favourite photo shoot you’ve ever done, and why? Do you have a favourite image of yours?
I don't necessarily have a favourite photo shoot or image. I think my favourite shoot/image is still to come. Every day, I get better and more creative.
You recently returned from a trip to Sweden. What are some of the biggest differences between shooting internationally and shooting in NYC?
The biggest difference is the reactions you get when people see you shooting anything. Internationally, people seem more curious or cautious about what you are photographing as oppose to in NYC, everyone is used to seeing people with a camera in their hands. There's just a comfort level here in NYC with carrying around a camera and shooting freely that you can't get abroad.
How did you grow your social media following? What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
I believe I grew my following by having a unique feed with consistency. My advice to anyone starting out is to find what you love shooting (whether it's portraits, landscapes or food), and find a way to make it your own and perfect it.
What did you like most about staying at YOTEL?
What I loved most about staying at the hotel was the great views of the city. From the rooms to the rooftop, YOTEL had great views of the city.
If you had to describe YOTEL in 3 words to your followers, what would they be?
Clean, modern and fun.
Check out some of the great YOTEL shots Aaron took during his stay with us:
Follow Aaron! @Underground_NYC
All photographs courtesy of Aaron Pegg // Underground NYC // KillTheUnderground.com