Queens photographer to open new gallery in Woodside

Nick McManus


Nick McManus, a Woodside photographer who has been featured in New York Magazine, will open a new show called “Woodside Welcome” at The Project for Living Artist Friday, March 13.

The show will feature polaroids — McManus’ method of expression — taken of groups along with photographs taken in the Long Island City area. The gallery will show his work from Queens over the last five years. There will also be art for sale and tamales for eating, McManus said. 

McManus has been taking group polaroids around the New York City area since 2012, when he picked up his mechanical camera he had loved when he was younger. His first camera was a Super 8 and he has no intention of going digital.

The attendees for Platypus in a Party Hat’s launch exhibition at 198 Allen St. on the Lower East Side, March 2020. (Nick McManus)

For McManus, the smell, the loading of film and the “clickety-clack” of film cameras are all part of the experience. 

“To me it’s a video game,” he said about his use of film cameras. 

McManus comes from a film production background and uses that experience in his work as a photographer. Working as a production assistant on the CW show “Gossip Girl,” McManus learned to direct large groups of people, he said during an artist talk in the Lower East Side last Saturday. 

McManus was between jobs in 2014 and had more freedom to work on his polaroid project, so he raced around the city in his car on a tight schedule trying to capture the night life at clubs and parties in the city.

The attendees of the Escape From New York fun ride at Coney Island at 9 a.m. in July 2016. (Nick McManus)

He became known at the places he photographed and would be able to get in and out for his shots even without a press pass if he was running tight on time. In total, he estimates he has taken between 7,000 and 10,000 shots over the years.

McManus attended Hunter College and was in the city in 2001 when the planes flew into the World Trade Center on 9/11. At 19 years old, he chronicled the day with photos taken by an old “Fuji one-time use camera” he had bought with the last of his cash. McManus said 9/11 has become his “gauge for measuring the relevance and importance of all since.” 

He attended college hoping to create documentaries, so for him, his polaroid group photos are one way of achieving this goal. 

The participants of the Battle of Mau Mau raft party in Dead Horse Bay, Brooklyn, August 2015. (Nick McManus)

McManus currently works on film and television sets and, in addition to “Gossip Girl,” has worked on “The Equalizer” and on the second unit of “Boardwalk Empire.”

He was recently featured at a show in the Lower East Side called Platypus in a Party Hat and most notably at the Ace Hotel where he showed a selection of polaroids from 2016. 

The guests of Nick McManus’ “Where’s My Polaroid?” exhibition at Ace Hotel in Manhattan, January 2017. (Nick McManus)

The show kicks off March 13 from 7 to 10 p.m. and will be open Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 10 p.m. at 38-02 61st St., Woodside.


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