Photograph by Maria J. Hackett.
Untapped Cities Insiders represent a diverse group of New Yorkers who all share a common passion for exploring the city they live in. As part of our membership program, Insiders gain free access to New York City’s most off-limits places and events from the city’s leading cultural institutions. You can become an Insider yourself by signing up today! In Untaped Cities Insider Profiles, we will introduce you to some of our current Insiders who engage with New York City as artists, authors, city planners, tour guides and more! Today we are introducing you to Silvie Bonnne, a Belgian born photographer and author of the book NYC Guide for Instagrammers, who’s work has been featured on Untapped Cities.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a Belgian photographer and I’ve been living in New York City with my husband and teenage son since July 2017. In Belgium I was a freelance photographer, mostly photographing kids, families, couples, weddings, and website and social-media images for small creative entrepreneurs. My husband works for the U.N. and he started with a temporary project for only six months, but after almost a year and a half we’re still here and I’m very happy for that!
The first six months I took four different photography classes at ICP. When I wasn’t in the classroom, I was outside, taking pictures. In that period I did a lot of city exploring and made a lot of pictures of all the places I visited. In the same time I started using Instagram more intensely. I used it to find the most photogenic locations in the city and I also used it more and more to share pictures.
What inspired you to create your book NYC Guide for Instagrammers?
As I already had a whole collection and was also interested in the story behind the ‘Instagrammable spot,’ the concept to make an ‘NYC Guide for Instagrammers’ was born. I wanted to make a city guide I would like to use myself: an overview of interesting spots, some background information, fun facts and the practical information about how to get there.
Now the book is finished I’m also getting back to photographing people. Belgian visitors (individuals, couples, families, friends) can hire me to do a photoshoot during a walk in a photogenic neighborhood, so they have a lasting memory of their visit to New York.
Why did you become an Untapped Cities Insider?
While I was screening Instagram for interesting spots in New York City I discovered Untapped Cities! Some of my friends are Insiders and I saw all these amazing places they visited. Once the book was finished I felt the urge to discover New York City in a next level and becoming an Untapped Cities Insider was the perfect way to do so! I should have done this much earlier!
What has been your favorite Insiders event and which event are you looking forward to?
I’ve been an Untapped Cities Insider since October and I did three tours: The Masonic Hall and Grand Lodge Building, The Brooklyn Army Terminal, and The Little Red Lighthouse. I honestly can’t choose one as a favorite. All three of them where totally different, interesting AND photogenic. I definitely hope the Tour of the Javits Center Green Roof and the Tour of the American Copper Buildings will make a comeback in the program.
The Little Red Lighthouse. © Silvie Bonne
What is your favorite part of the Insiders program?
Discovering places in the city you otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit AND visit places that you did not even know existed.
What is one untapped place you would love to explore in NYC?
The Old City Hall Subway Station!
A ceiling inside the Masonic Hall © Silvie Bonne
What is your favorite NYC location to photograph?
Only one? I have at least 100 spots! (see my book ;)) and I feel like there’s so much more to discover! I love locations where you can clearly feel the New York atmosphere, classics like the Flat Iron building with some yellow cabs or The San Remo building peeping out behind the Bow Bridge. I love places with special contrasts, like the New York City skyline in combination with the greenery from the Hunters Point South Park, the Little Red Lighthouse in combination with the George Washington Bridge, The Rockefeller Center in combination with Saint Patricks Cathedral. I love neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, Soho, Greenwich Village, Williamsburg. And I love the gorgeous waterfront parks like the Gantry State Park, Domino Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island, and Roosevelt Island.
You can follow Silvie’s adventures through New York City on her Instagram and purchase her NYC Guide for Instagrammers as a perfect holiday gift! Check out more of Silvie’s photos from Untapped Cities Insider tours below:
From the roof of the Brooklyn Army Terminal. © Silvie Bonne
Overlooking the Hudson River © Silvie Bonne
Inside the Brooklyn Army Terminal © Silvie Bonne
Inside the Masonic Hall © Silvie Bonne