Playing cards: A new medium for street photography

Street photographer Amy Touchette wanted to print her popular New York City street portraits, but the pages of a book seemed an all-too-ordinary medium.

“I really opened myself up to how my photography could be presented outside of the usual places—exhibition walls and book pages,” says Touchette.

After two years of brainstorming, she settled on a poker-sized deck of playing cards called “New York City Street Dailies,” which are now on sale at the National Portrait Gallery in London, among other art and book stores. 

“I loved the idea of making a game out of my street portraits, the interaction it requires to handle the cards, that they have a numerical sequence but could also be shuffled into scores of new sequences,” she says. She also wanted something that would make her photography accessible to the general public in a way that art often isn’t.

“By placing these portraits in groups, with each suit comprising variations on a particular pool of people, it reflects exactly what I see again and again and again as I make street photographs in New York City and throughout the world: the reassurance of our similarities and the indispensable beauty of our differences.”   

Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer.