Mark's stunning new book pays homage to 'New York's Finest'
Castletownroche snapper's two years embedded with the NYPD
A new book containing stunning behind the scenes images of 'New York's Finest' through the lens of multi-award winning Castletownroche photojournalist Mark Condren is set to be officially launched this Friday in the 'Big Apple'.
The Irish Independent photographer who formerly worked for The Corkman spent two years embedded with the New York Police Department (NYPD), capturing the highs and lows of the city’s cops as they went about their daily lives.
Speaking to The Corkman Mark said he was the first photographer in the history of the NYPD to be given such free ranging access to its members for his ‘fly on the wall’ style book.
He said the opportunity arose almost by accident following a chance remark to former Mallow based Garda Sgt PJ O'Sullivan after the release of 'Guards', his previous book featuring images of members of An Garda Siochána.
"I happened to mention to PJ that it would be brilliant to do something similar with the NYPD. He mentioned the idea to his brother Mike, an Assistant Garda commissioner in Dublin, who in turn contacted their cousin Pat, a retired NYPD Lieutenant, and he set the ball rolling," said Mark.
After being given the all clear to go ahead with the project by senior NYPD brass, Mark made 16 separate trips to the city, each time 'chasing the radio' to incidents in a patrol car accompanied by Detective James Byrne.
"For a photographer this really was a once in a life time opportunity and while at first some of the officers I met were a bit sceptical about the idea, it did not take too long to gain their trust," said Mark.
While Mark admitted that no single image could do proper justice to the intensity and scale of the work undertaken by the men and women of the NYPD, he said he felt the book has encapsulated the highs, lows and sheer intensity of policing in one of the world's most vibrant and exciting cities.
"I won't lie, it was tough going at times. Some nights I might have only a couple of hours sleep before getting up to go to a briefing ahead of an early morning house raid. At times like this it was a very intense experience and gave me an incredible insight into the sheer bravery and determination of the men and women I worked with," he said.
"It was just as intriguing capturing them on their down time, when they let their guard down a bit and gave me an insight into their lives and what it means to them to be part of the NYPD. Working alongside these incredible people and to be accepted as one of them was an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life," he added.
The finished product 'NYPD: Behind the Scenes With the Men and Women of the New York City Police Department' is available to buy at www.markcondren.com.
"I have to say that I am incredibly proud of how the book turned out," said Mark. "For me it was very much a labour of love and it sits well alongside my previous work with An Garda Siochána," he added.