Stacey Baker is a talented photographer and associate photo editor at The New York Times Magazine, which has been recognized with many prestigious awards including World Press Photo, American Photography and the Society of Publication Designers, among others. She was formerly the photo director at More Magazine. Stacey works with an array of photographers from all over the world, including photojournalists and portrait, fine-art and conceptual photographers.
As the photo series Humans of New York has grown in popularity, Baker has taken a different approach to documenting the city and its diverse population. In a photo series that she calls Citi Legs, Barker got over 1,000 sets of legs on her Instagram, which she shares to her 79.1k followers.
“I love the serendipity of it,” Baker says. “Of seeing a subject, asking her to participate, finding a nearby wall, and making a picture. It all takes place in no more than 10 minutes. The fact that most women I approach are not only willing to stop, but also put their purse down, take off their coat, raise or tuck in their blouse and stand with their hands up—all for a complete stranger—never fails to amaze me.”
For the past three years, Stacey Baker has been photographing women’s legs in New York City and posting the pictures on Instagram, where she has over seventy-five thousand followers. The women are strangers she meets on the street who agree to pose in front of a nearby wall. Only their legs are visible in the frame: She always frames them so the subject is cut off at the waist. She rigorously stages these photographs, asking the muse to stand in front of a gritty, textured wall, and composing each image so the heels line up with the horizon line where the wall meets the chewing-gum-pocked sidewalk, and always framing it so the thin strip of pavement takes up about a sixth of the picture. By following this disciplined approach, Baker has figured out a way to commandeer a portrait studio out of the chaos of midtown Manhattan.
The images, viewed collectively, reflect the diversity of the female figure and also reflect the personality of each subject as well as the fashion of the moment: leggings, miniskirts, jeans, etc. Many of the pictures were taken on West 40th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, near where Baker works as a photo editor at the New York Times Magazine, often during her lunch hour.