#WhyIRide: Marcus

Marcus Tortorici

How long have you lived in New York?

Since Fall of 2012 . So, coming on three years.

What first brought you there?

I’m from Alabama. I moved up here to pursue opportunity. I wanted to be a photographer and filmmaker, and there wasn’t a terrible amount of opportunity in Alabama. New York seemed like the right place. After a crazy series of events, I ended up here.

What happened?

I had directed a project out of college and the production company wanted me to come for work. I stayed for a week. Then another week. And another week. I finally called my mom and said, “Hey, I guess I just accidentally moved to New York.”

*laughs* Why do you stay in New York?

There’s something about the cultural influence that the city has. I like to think that ideas and culture start in big cities and eventually move out to the rest of the country. There’s something about being here. It’s like you can have an impact on the world in a way. It’s one of the crazy and unique things about this place.

At the same time, New York kind of sucks. *laughs* It’s always trying to hurt you. It’s always trying to take your money. It’s always trying to get rid of you, but it keeps it exciting and keeps you on your toes. You feel like you’re always growing because you’re always being challenged. I like that about New York.

That’s great. How long have you been taking photos?

Not very long actually. I started taking photos in my senior year of college. I got my mom’s old film camera she used to take to Disney World with us, and I started shooting a ton with it.

There was always something about it. I remember even when I got a camcorder early on, I was always trying to find a way to take photos on it. Since 2012, I’ve been taking photos, and I haven’t really stopped since.

Your stuff’s really amazing. Can you walk me through your journey as a photographer?

It’s funny. When I moved to New York, I wasn’t really very good at photos. But I had to learn very quickly to be a photographer because I needed to make some money. I was going totally broke. So, I started studying photography. I was kind of forced to be good.

I’m not one of those kids that grew up with a camera or anything. I had no sort of artists in my family. The whole art world was very foreign to me, but something drew me to it.

What inspires you about photography?

The idea of memories and nostalgia. They’re both really important to me. A real photo is so eternal, that’s why I like Instagram. I don’t like Snapchat as much because it’s too fleeting in a way. On there, I try to capture these memories, but they just disappear.

Whenever I look back at photos, I remember the exact way I felt when I took it. That’s how I really got into photography. There would be these really intense emotional experiences I was having, and I would take a photo of all of the detail around me so I could remember that moment forever.

Does that answer your question?

*laughs* It does. How would you describe your personal photography style?

Hmm…I don’t like stuff that’s very stylized. If someone’s sitting, I try not to move them around too much. I like to capture what’s really happening. It’s almost a little more documentary style.

Anything in warm fading light. That’s always my favorite time of day. When people are transitioning and coming back home, the sun is setting, things are winding down in the city — especially in the summertime.

So, you’ve been using Uber for a while. Why do you like it?

It’s a really nice break from the environment of New York. Dealing with the train, dealing with all the people on the train. Or walking home. You’re dealing with freezing weather, rain, or sweltering heat. You’re always engaged and looking for a way out, but when you take an Uber, it’s a break from all that.

You’re chilling in the backseat. You have your Spotify hooked up to it,. You’re not concerned with where you’re headed or what you’re doing. Your driver is taking care of it. That’s something you take for granted in New York because you’re always engaged with your surroundings.

The ability to chill and have time to look out the window and just let your mind wander, that’s something I love the most. It’s normally not something you have the luxury doing in New York.

Last question — what’s your most memorable trip?

Let me look at my trip history real quick. *hums song*

One day, I was assisting a photographer and he needed to take his equipment back to Brooklyn. It was 5 o’clock and literally no cabs would take him. So, I called an Uber. It arrived to the curb, and the driver helped us load in the equipment. As an assistant, it’s the little things you do. I remember that as a cool moment. He hadn’t used Uber before and I got to show him how.