Photographer Nick McManus is a group portrait artist who works on Impossible Project Polaroids for gallery exhibition here in New York City. This past weekend, he scheduled and shot group portraits of workers at Sounds on St. Mark's Place and Rainbow Music on First Avenue, which closed for good on Sunday. (The Sounds closing date is up in the air still.)
In addition, he visited the original location for Bicycle Habitat on Lafayette, which is closing today. (The shop is consolidating spaces after a large rent increase.)
"I felt it was important to give back to them after so many years of personally enjoying their music and bike services," said McManus, who has been regularly taking these group portraits at business closings.
In each case, he presents the owners with a copy of the portraits — "a physical souvenir of a place they'll miss dearly meant a lot to them."
I asked McManus what the mood was like as these owners were closing up their shops.
At Rainbow Music, owner Bill "Birdman" Kasper "was ready for this to happen. He will be selling CDs on the street in Greenpoint in the near future. The mood was something that could be described in the words of George Harrison, 'All Things Must Pass.'
Over at Bicycle Habitat, the co-owner Charlie McCorkell looked like he would miss his little desk in the back center of a store he's worked out of since 1978. Though they've expanded to four other locations, one of which is on the same block and will consolidate with the other one, the original high-ceilinged wood and iron interior of their original location will be missed as something he spent most of his adult life in and no place would ever equal it. At the moment of the portrait though, the mood was less somber and more work busy as he posed with a staff that knew they had a lot of moving and and clearing ahead of them so that the store would be completely out by [today] when Charlie had to turn over the keys."
You can find more of McManus's work via Instagram.