Pillsbury's recent photographs capture classic New York moments and locations without falling into the trap of seeming overly familiar or tired. His choices revel in movement: the spinning of the carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the chaos of the packed Jing Fong Dim Sum restaurant, the swinging band at Jazz at Lincoln Center with the headlights of Columbus Circle in the background, and the jumble of TV cameras and press on the roof of the Marriott Marquis on New Year's Eve. Like 19th century spirit photographs, his images document the traces of people who are no longer there, who come and go, leaving behind only a ghostly trail of light; the city itself endures and is indifferent. While other images in this show have more obvious drama, my favorite was the photograph of the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zucotti Park, who are reduced to a shifting, undulating pile of bags, tarps, and huddled people, underneath the quiet canopy of trees (on the right in the bottom installation shot).
It takes some artistic confidence to think that original images can still be made of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the World Trade Center light tribute, or the fountains in Washington Square Park. But Pillsbury pulls it off with surprising success, showing us facets of our city that are only visible when time is compressed.