Noel Zheng: Through My Looking Glass

Photography and Text by Noel Zheng, Copyright 2017




New York presents itself as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, with the projections of the high life. But in reality, especially for such a fast-paced, goal-oriented city, the dreams that drove people to this place can easily be pushed to the back in a quick wisp of ‘need to do this, and that’… and before anyone knows it, that one self-deserving person is moulded into another passer-by; one in the other eight million people in this city of all cities.

But New York is really something, because people don’t lose hope. I mean, amongst all the elegant skyscrapers, and street vendors, and honking taxis, and fast-paced people, and get- the-f***-out-of-my-ways, a city so big is bound to have something for someone. But maybe it is just that: that New York can give you exactly what you want, but only when you don’t want it.

Every time I go, New York is a little bit different. This time, it felt nostalgic even though I never grew up there; it seemed dull yet vital; it carried a connotation of melancholy, of a honey-will-you-be-back-for-dinner, of a time that seemed to have just slipped through our fingers before us noticing it was gone.

Through these series of photographs, I capture New York City through my view-finder; through my looking glass; through the perspective that I encouraged myself to see. Although you might not find your New York in this, I see a snippet of my New York; and isn’t that the most powerful thing about this? For every photo to tell a slightly different story for everyone; just like the city I try to tell about.


About The Author: Noel Zheng is a freshmen enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2020. To access additional articles by Noel Zheng, go here:


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