This zine captures the spirit of New York City
Arguably the most photographed city in the world, Stephen Velastegui shoots NYC in an honest new light.
"Amores Aparte Pero Siempre Juntos" roughly translates as "Lovers Apart But Always Together". Photographer Stephen Velastegui first came across these words a while back, engraved on a set of matching pendants in a jewellery store. “It perfectly expressed how I felt towards my parents at the time,” he says. “I was trying to understand their decision to relocate my family from our hometown of Ridgewood, Queens to the east end of Long Island.”
A few years later the Spanish phrase has become the name of Stephen’s first zine. Released next month, it takes in the last two years of his life. A keen documenter of the different scenes and clashing cultures of NYC, Stephen’s work first appeared in i-D via a series entitled Papi Chulo, about Latinx boys in Manhattan and Queens. “My work explores intimacy, time and my ever-evolving relationship with NYC,” he says of his inspiration. Currently studying Photography and the Digital Image at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, he works across documentary, fashion and portrait photography in his spare time. “I think about how time and distance affect those around me, and the different communities I am a part of. I'm constantly photographing the people, places and experiences that I hope, over time, will show what side of the world I belong to and how I found it.”
Inspired by the work of Nan Goldin, Jamil GS and Zora Sicher -- “They each depict NYC in a different way, which I've always appreciated” -- Stephen’s photography captures the energy of the city and Amores Aparte Pero Siempre Juntos is a tribute to this. “I was looking for a way to communicate my experiences to the outside world, and quite literally close this chapter of my life,” he explains. “I love the DIY essence of zines, and it ultimately made the most sense for the work. At its core it's about me moving in with my grandma, becoming her best friend and staying put. It's about being thrown into adulthood and looking out for myself. It's about exploring the underbelly of NYC. It's about partying. It's about pain. It's about loss, gain and, most importantly, growth.”
All images courtesy Stephen Velastegui